Drew Barrett has been recommended to be the new Athletic Director and Events Supervisor for Salem High School. The Salem School Board is expected to formally approve his appointment at its next scheduled monthly meeting on July 13.
“It is an honor to be a part of the leadership team at Salem High School and know that we have tremendous community support for our students, as well as the best facilities in the state,” says Barrett. “I realize that this is an incredible opportunity for me, and I could not be more excited to get started.”
Barrett already is well known in the halls of the high school. He has been a counselor in Salem since 2015, but that is only part of his varied and impressive professional background.
After graduating from Tazewell High School in 2000, where he was awarded the Billy Wagner Scholarship, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from V.M.I. Barrett turned his experience on post into a job with Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern and designed over 40 traffic signals in the Commonwealth, served as the Lead Engineer on more than 60 bridge-roadway projects in the valley and designed the area’s first 5-legged roundabout on Merriman Road in Roanoke County.
After nine years with HSMM and AECOM, he changed career paths, went back to college, and secured his master’s in Counselor Education from Virginia Tech.
“I knew early on in my engineering career that I would rather work with people than projects,” he says. “My whole family has had various careers in education from an elementary teacher to a high school principal to a college professor, so I guess it's just in my blood to be involved in education. Plus, I just enjoy helping people and building relationships with them.”
Barrett has long-standing connections to both the Virginia High School League and the NCAA. He has been a football official and baseball umpire at VHSL events for the past 16 years, and he served as a football official in both the Old Dominion Athletic and USA South conferences from 2006 -2012. The Southern Conference has used his skills as one of its assistant replay officials for football since 2018.
Barrett is replacing Chris King, who is retiring on June 30 after serving the division since 1993. Before taking over as the high school’s athletic director, King was an assistant principal at Andrew Lewis Middle School, a middle school athletic director and a physical education teacher. Barrett is just the fourth athletic director in Salem High School history, following King, Sandy Hadaway and Dale Foster.
“Salem has one of the best and most respected School Divisions in the state,” Barrett says. “I am extremely humbled and honored to carry on this tradition.”