Claire L. Barnett

Founder and Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network, Inc.

Claire L. Barnett, MBA, Founder and Executive Director, Healthy Schools Network, Inc. and Coordinator, national Coalition for Healthier Schools. Claire Barnett is Executive Director of Healthy Schools Network, Inc. (HS Network) and coordinator of the national Coalition for Healthier Schools. She founded HS Network in 1995, several years after her middle-school son was injured by pesticides at school. Today HS Network is a national 501(c)(3) organization. Working at the nexus of children’s health, environment, and education, it leads the movement to protect vulnerable children from environmental health hazards at schools using a mix of research, technical assistance, diverse reach, and advocacy. In 2001, the Network convened the Coalition, an association of national, state, and local groups. Acting together, the groups have won new federal funds and laws to address schoolhouse conditions, fostered reform coalitions in multiple states, and informed and empowered many thousands of parents and communities.
As an early advocate for environmental health, Barnett was appointed to US EPA’s Children’s Health Protection federal advisory committee and later to EPA’s School Air Toxics Work Group of EPA’s National Environmental Justice Council. Under her leadership, the Network established National Healthy Schools Day as an annual day of public health awareness in partnership with EPA, CDC, and the American Public Health Association, and established a nationally unique informational services for parents of children affected by school environments. She is a frequent speaker on children’s environmental health and has served on multiple state and national advisory groups on children, violence, and school environments. Currently, she a member of the national Childhood Asthma Leadership Coalition, the National Coordinating Committee on School Health and Safety, an adviser to the City of Philadelphia (PA) Schools’ Asthma Committee and to the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, a member of US EPA’s leadership group for school environments, and serves on two New York State work groups on energy and sustainable schools.
Under Barnett’s leadership, HS Network has won multiple awards and recognitions, including an Outstanding National Partner Award from Green Seal, the international eco-labeling nonprofit; a National Special Achievement Award from US EPA Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program; a Child Health Recognition Award from US EPA Office of Children’s Health; a Green Apple Award from the Collaborative for High Performance Schools; and an Appreciation Award from the Walter L. Cohen (High School) Alumni Association, New Orleans, LA. Claire Barnett received the 2017 William K. Reilly National Environmental Leadership Award, given annually by American University's School of Public Affairs in Washington, DC
Her previous work includes ten years administering a rural county mental health agency (including developing shared services for high-risk children across counties and districts), consulting with local rural governments on Main Street sustainability, establishing a network to connect business angel investors to rural start-up businesses, and five years’ reporting for TIME magazine in New York City. She holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MBA (health finance) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Publications include these listed below and dozens of parent/user-friendly guides on environmental issues in schools found at
“Significance of the School Physical Environment – A Commentary,” (pages 483–487) William J. Fisk, Jerome A. Paulson, Lloyd J. Kolbe and Claire L. Barnett, Journal of School Health June 2016.
“Public Health Stops at the School House Door, Jerome A. Paulson and Claire L. Barnett, Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2016, doi:10.1289/EHP530. EHP article Oct 2016
Towards Healthy Schools: Reducing Risks to Children, Healthy Schools Network, 2016, the 4th triennial state of the states’ data and policy report.
Schools of Ground Zero: Early Lessons Learned in Children’s Environmental Health. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association and Healthy Schools Network; 2002., APHA, 2002
“Who’s In Charge of Children’s Environmental Health at School?,” Jerome Paulson and Claire Barnett, New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, 2010; 20 (1) 3-23. Later reprinted as a chapter in The Toxic Schoolhouse. M K Scammell and C Levenstein (eds). Baywood Publishing Co, Amityville, NY: 2014.
“Science-Based Recommendations to Prevent or Reduce Potential Exposure to Biological, Chemical, and Physical Agents in Schools,” Derek G. Shendell, Claire Barnett, Stephen Boese, Journal of School Health, 2004; 74(10):390-6.
“Children's Environmental Health: The School Environment,” Kristie Trousdale, Joyce Martin, Laura Abulafia, Claire Barnett, and Carol Westinghouse, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 2010; 48(2) 135-144.