When they arrived on Andover’s campus 34 years ago, Donald and Roxanne Barry, Instructor in Mathematics and Director of Summer Opportunities, respectively, were simply looking for a job that offered housing. After years of working and connecting with students, they will now be retiring to their alma mater of Carleton College in Northfield, MN. The Barrys met at Carleton College and moved to Andover in 1980 after working for schools in Tarsus, Turkey, and Istanbul, Turkey, for seven years. The Barrys will return to Minnesota and live in the former home of Roxanne Barry’s grandmother. Though their specific plans are not in place yet, they plan to be involved in the Carleton College community, whether formally or informally. “If possible, we will probably have sort of a drop-in place for students who just want to get away from the dorms, make a batch of cookies, because we’re only two blocks away from campus. We’ll open up our house in some way. I don’t think we will ever stop being teachers,” Roxanne Barry said.
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**Donald Barry Leaves Behind a Legacy of Thousands of Math Competition Problems**
Known for his passion for math and his challenging math contest problems, Donald Barry will leave Andover’s Mathematics Department this spring.
In addition to teaching math, Barry has been a House Counselor in Taylor Hall, Coach of JV Boys Basketball, Golf and Cross Country, the faculty advisor and co-founder of Model United Nations Club and faculty advisor of the Math Club.
Donald Barry will be remembered for his involvement in the Math Club, where he created problems for the students and proctored exams and contests.
“[Math Club] problems had to be non-routine problems: not just run of the mill textbook problems. So that was a lot of work. And as we have gotten into more and more contests, I’ve had to do more and more proctoring,” Donald Barry said.
His experience teaching math in Turkey with Roxanne Barry led him to his passion of writing problems for math contests. Along with his work with the Math Club, Donald Barry also wrote problems for thirty years at Massachusetts-wide and New England-wide math contests and was the head writer of problems for the national American Regions Math League (ARML) math contest from 1995 to 2008.
“Most math teachers don’t write problems for math contests. They either don’t want to because they know it is a huge amount of work, or they don’t feel they can, but the number who do is stunningly low. This has defined my career. I haven’t been an administrator, but what I have done, throughout my entire Andover career, is I’ve written tons and tons of math problems for contests, which means they are non-routine problems,” he said.
Using his passion for innovative math problems, Donald Barry pushes his students to explore mathematical concepts in his classes. He often grants extra credit to students who pursue a difficult math problem to motivate them to look beyond what he teaches in class.
“Writing those problems has contributed to my teaching because I’m quite confident that I’m more exploratory in class with problems than I would be otherwise. I spend much more time looking into a problem, seeing what’s there, seeing the possibilities that are not just on the surface,” said Donald Barry.
“[Math is] just a chance for all of us to be creative. But when you’re doing math, you’re doing more than just math. There are philosophical underpinnings to math. Math is a very unusual creation. It has inspired all sorts of ideas and debates about the nature of our mind and how our mind relates to the world,” Donald Barry said.
Donald Barry witnessed students’ perseverance outside his classroom on the cross-country course.
One boy he recalled consistently came in last place in races, but worked hard at each practice. On one of the last races of the season, he finally came ahead of two other boys on the course.
“In this awful, miserable day, he was ecstatic, and so were we. You’ve seen a kid who had no idea what he could do discover what he could do and he is so proud of himself because his parents could see him,” he added.
Andover allowed Donald Barry to pursue his own interests while helping students learn.
“This has been a school where you can find your voice as a teacher, those things that interest you. You can find students who find your voice attractive to them. The administration lets you be the teacher. There is a relatively low level of bureaucracy and a relatively high level of pursuing your own vision,” he said.
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**Roxanne Barry Connected With Students**
Before she came to Andover in 1980, Roxanne Barry was always connected to Andover. Though she grew up in Turkey, her parents taught at schools founded by missionaries from the Andover Theological Seminary, a school that previously occupied part of Andover’s campus.
“The doctor who took care of me at the mission in Turkey was a Phillips Academy graduate. He was a missionary that had also come to Andover. The minister who married [Donald] Barry and me was a Phillips Academy graduate. We were meant to come here, I guess,” she said.
Roxanne Barry has been the Director of the Summer and Gap Year Opportunities Office for the past 20 years, creating two websites where students can submit essays and pictures of their summer and gap year experiences. She was also the Head Of School Visitor Arranger and an Academic Advisor for ten years.
“Because I am not a classroom educator, [being Summer and Gap Year Opportunities Director] is my way of connecting to wonderful students at Phillips Academy. I have enjoyed finding new summer and gap year programs over the past 20 years and matching our students’ interests to these programs. It is always rewarding to have a student tell you that they had a wonderful summer or gap year experience,” said Roxanne Barry in an email to The Phillipian. As Summer and Gap Year Opportunities Office Director, she organized the annual summer and gap year opportunities fairs with the Parents of Students of Phillips Academy (PSPA).
Roxanne Barry found a community as a complementary house counselor for Clement House for the past ten years.
“When you’re living in the same place, the community of faculty and their families and the students are all part of that big family. So when I go to the dormitory and I talk to those girls and see them in the evenings or on the weekends when I am on duty, it feels a little bit like my extended family. It’s almost like talking to my own daughters again,” said Roxanne Barry. She also enjoys the cultural and artistic events that Andover offers.
She was a seventh-grade master teacher for the PALS program for 17 years. She trains the high school students from Andover and Andover High School who teach seventh graders from Lawrence math and language arts.