Clint Barnes, a former two-term president of the Tennessee Association for Pupil Transportation and a current board member, died last week from COVID-19 complications. He was 46.
Barnes was the association’s Region 3 director for the greater Nashville area, in addition to serving as the assistant director of transportation for Sumner County Schools in the north-central part of the state.
Larry Riggsbee, the executive director of the Tennessee Association for Pupil Transportation, told School Transportation News that Barens was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 and was hospitalized, where he died on Sept. 24.
“His passing is [greatly] personal to me and all the pupil transportation managers in Tennessee,” Riggsbee added.
Riggsbee recalled hiring Barnes as a school bus driver at Sumner County, where Riggsbee was the assistant director of transportation at the time, and later promoting Barnes as an area manager. Riggsbee said he selected Barnes as his replacement when he retired in 2009.
Jeremy Johnson, a spokesman for Sumner County Schools, said the transportation department will continue to operate with existing management who worked under Barnes, adding that a permanent replacement will be sought after the first of the year.
“It has hit all of us really hard,” shared Johnson. “Clint was the nicest and kindest person. He always had a smile on his face and was always easy to talk to. He was great at his job. But more importantly, he was a great friend to everyone he worked with. He will be greatly missed.”
Dr. Del Phillips, director of schools for Sumner County, said the community “lost a great leader and friend.”
“Clint cared a great deal about this school system, our students, our bus drivers and getting students to and from school safely each day,” he added. “Clint was happy to do whatever was necessary each day to get students home safely, from dispatching buses to driving bus routes himself when there weren’t enough drivers. He treated his bus drivers and the entire Transportation Department like family, and it made all the difference.”
Barnes also served as a pastor at Christ Apostolic Church in Portland, Tennessee.
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He was born May 13, 1974, in Nashville and is survived by wife Kelly; daughters Makayla Laine Muro (Jonathon), Alaina Barnes-Farmer (Dillan), Isabella Caroline Barnes, and Landrianna Mia Barnes; parents Imogene and Clifton Barnes, Sr.; brother Rodney; father- and mother-in-law Ronnie and Donna Davenport; and grandmother Evelyn Nunnley.
Barnes was also awaiting the birth of two grandchildren in the coming months.
The family requested that donations be made to the Mission Fund at Christ Apostolic Church: PO Box 890, Portland, TN 37148.