FPS gets new facilities director

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published May 2, 2021

 Farmington Public Schools recently announced that Jon Barth would take over as the district’s director of facilities.

Farmington Public Schools recently announced that Jon Barth would take over as the district’s director of facilities.

Photo by Rebecca Gallagher

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FARMINGTON — The Farmington Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of Jon Barth as the district’s new director of facilities recently.

Barth replaces Felicia Venable, who left the district earlier this year. Barth comes to the district with a background in the area of school operations, according to the district. He previously served as the operations facilities director for the Berkley School District, a role he held since 2017. Prior to that he served in a variety of facilities management roles in various school districts.

He attended North Farmington High School before gaining a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at Oakland University. He also obtained a master’s degree in history with an emphasis on U.S. labor history from OU. He started with FPS April 12.

“Farmington Public Schools is excited about the addition of Jon Barth as our new director of facilities management,” Jennifer Kaminski, the assistant superintendent for business services, said in a press release. “Finding a professional with Mr. Barth’s specific expertise was extremely difficult.”

Having attended FPS schools as a young adult, being able to bring his career full circle played a key role in his decision to apply and accept the position within the district.

As to what he’ll be doing, Barth notes there are several aspects to what a facilities director does. He is there to ensure that all buildings within FPS are safe and inviting for students, staff and visitors.

Things such as building maintenance, ensuring a clean learning environment and being a welcoming face in the building are just a few responsibilities. Barth said he doesn’t plan on making sweeping changes. Instead, he will learn from what has been done previously and build upon that foundation, he said.

“It’s a larger district than I’m currently in, but I’ve worked in larger districts such as Southfield, which is nearby, and I’ve worked at a couple of universities,” Barth said. “I saw this as the natural transition, and when they offered me the position, I was really excited, because it is an opportunity to basically come back home.”

With COVID-19 still making its rounds, the challenges of being a facilities director are heightened. Ensuring student and staff safety for those who are attending in-person class is the top priority, he said.

He noted that the district had done a good job in terms of safety prior to his arrival. He is now looking to pick up where the district left off. Not much changes in terms of sanitization besides the effort being ramped up, he said.

“From the facilities side, we’re doing everything we can, obviously, with distancing, cleaning, disinfecting and filtration, so it really hasn’t changed,” Barth said. “We’re still doing the work we normally do to keep occupants safe. We’re sort of revving up the push to make sure that everyone is safe that enters that building.”

With Barth coming into a new district, he said he understands there will be things he will need to learn. He said he will get in contact with multiple departments throughout FPS to ensure ideas are being shared and that the top problems are being addressed.

Barth said he is eager to hit the ground running and is excited for the opportunity.

“I come to Farmington not ready to make broadscale changes, but to learn the environment, the culture, how people work, meet with individual staff members, see what their skill sets are, help develop those, and that in turn will actually promote a really positive environment,” Barth said.

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