Click Here To Listen Williamson Business 100 Leading Women Dr Alicia Spencer Barker
Alicia Barker is a Doctor of Audiology at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, in Franklin. She is coordinator of services for the Williamson County clinic and has been affiliated with Vanderbilt since 1998.
As a mother of two school-aged children, the PTO was the perfect place for Barker to focus her service-oriented personality. Moving through the PTO ranks to chairperson, the next logical step for her was to run for a position on the Franklin Special School District board of education. She was elected to the board in August of 2012.
During the tenure of her board service, she has found particular interest in advancing access to classroom technology, STEM and coding curriculum, and equality in education. Equality in education remains one of her passions, with active involvement in creating FSSD’s new Educational Equity policy. Specific programs that Barker helps coordinate or advocate for include: the Graceworks fuel bag deliveries for schools (a confidential food delivery service for students with food instability over the weekend and during school closures); maintaining district-staffed custodians instead of contracting out the services; legislative measures in support of public education on Capital Hill in Nashville and locally in Franklin.
Working with the diverse population of the Franklin Special School District, her eyes were opened to the unique needs of some children in Franklin. Approximately 40% of FSSD students are on free and reduced lunch (an indicator of poverty). Franklin Special does address the specific needs of its students with free after-school tutoring, a summer feeding program, free and reduced summer camps, and the Fuel Bag program to help these children. However, counselors and teachers still noticed needs of children that could hinder learning and socialization in the school. After meeting with PTO members and school counselors, Dr. Barker, along with a small group of PTO leaders, formed The N.O.O.K. (Needs of Our Kids). The N.O.O.K. is a resource service providing children in FSSD and Williamson County, emergency supplies (including new clothing items, shoes, emergency food boxes, and emergency gas cards) at the request of the school counselor. With a group of volunteers, these requested items are delivered to the school in the correct size, the day of the request. The child’s identity is protected, the counselor does not have to search for emergency clothing items or food items for the child, and the child can enter the classroom ready to learn. Dr. Barker now serves as the Board Chair for The N.O.O.K. and strives to make sure children in Franklin and Williamson County have every opportunity to learn and grow.
Dr. Barker lives in Franklin with her husband and two sons. A native of Franklin and a graduate of Franklin High School, Dr. Barker loves serving in her home town. She is an avid runner, and an advocate for public education.