Barbara R. Blackburn, Ph.D

Dr. Barbara Blackburn has dedicated her life to raising the level of rigor and motivation for professional educators and students alike. What differentiates Barbara’s fourteen books are her easily executable concrete examples based on decades of experience as a teacher, professor, and consultant. Barbara’s dedication to education was inspired in her early years by her parents. Her father’s doctorate and lifetime career as a professor taught her the importance of professional training. Her mother’s career as school secretary shaped Barbara’s appreciation of the effort all staff play in the education of every child.

Barbara has taught early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students and has served as an educational consultant for three publishing companies. She holds a master’s degree in school administration and is certified as a school principal in North Carolina. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2006, she received the award for Outstanding Junior Professor at Winthrop University. She recently left her position at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to write and speak full-time.


In addition to speaking at state and national conferences, she also regularly presents workshops for teachers and administrators in elementary, middle, and high schools. Her workshops are lively and engaging and filled with practical information. Her most popular topics include:

  • Rigor is NOT a Four Letter Word
  • Rigorous Schools and Classrooms: Leading the Way
  • Motivation + Engagement + Rigor = Student Success
  • Instructional Strategies that Motivate Students
  • Content Literacy Strategies for the Young and the Restless
  • Motivating Yourself and Others
  • Engaging Instruction Leads to Higher Achievement
  • High Expectations and Increased Support Lead to Success


"I have to share with you that in my 8 years with Merrimack School District- you were BY FAR the BEST presenter we have ever had! Everyone I spoke to about the day had NOTHING but positive comments. You were so engaging and gave us a lot to think about...but you also made so many of us feel great because we are already doing a lot of the things/ideas you mentioned. It truly was a very motivational day- so thank you!"

---Rebecca VandenBerg



Dr. Blackburn's Full Curriculum Vita
full vita 2015.docx
Microsoft Word document [166.3 KB]
Dr. Blackburn's Short Curriculum Vita
short vita 2016.docx
Microsoft Word document [144.1 KB]

Meet the rest of Barbara's team: Dr. Ron Williamson,  Dr. Abbigail Armstrong, Dr. Brad Witzel, and Melissa Miles.