Mary Jo Barnett, M.Ed | 919-270-3739 | Email Me

About Us


I’m Mary Jo Barnett and I founded Pathways Education Planning in 2011 because I enjoy helping families solve complicated education planning and therapeutic care questions. My mission as an Independent Education Consultant is helping students of all ages find the road to a bright future.

Are you looking for an understanding Education Consultant with professional knowledge and personal experience who understands what you are going through with your child? Do you need a guide to help your son or daughter toward a better future? It would be my pleasure to work with you.

As an active associate member of IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) I tour many high-quality schools and therapeutic treatment programs locally and nationally each year. I bring my client families the most up-to-date information about the best available options and education practices for their student. I  also serve as a Special Needs Advocate to assist my clients in getting the best possible services in their home schools.

I hold a BA Degree in Child Development/Special Education and a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. My professional experience includes more than 20 years as a special needs teacher, counselor, and education specialist. I also worked as  a family therapist in an alternative-education high school and served families in my private counseling practice where I specialized in helping adoptive families.

Some of the most helpful preparation I had to be an Education Consultant, however, came through parenting our own three children. My husband and I  formed our family through both birth and adoption. All three of our now young adult children have had learning and health challenges. I feel very blessed to have the professional knowledge I needed to help my own children over some big hurdles in their growing up. I am hopeful that I will have an opportunity to help your son or daughter too.

There is a spark in each young person just waiting to be lit! When young people are emotionally healthy and educated in an inspiring school they have a chance to achieve their true potential. When you help your daughter or son find the care and education she/he needs you will help light that fire of hope for the future. Success leads to success!

I hope you will allow me to serve your family as your Education Consultant.Together we will help guide your student on the road to their best possible future.

With warm best wishes,
Mary Jo Barnett Educational Consultant


Mary Jo Barnett Educational Consultant

Mary Jo Barnett, M.Ed





Margaret Maternowski, Education Consultant

I joined Pathways Education Planning after a 20-year career as an Exceptional Children Program Facilitator in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. In this role, I assisted hundreds of families navigating the complex educational system using a multi-faceted, creative approach, helping them to chart a path to success for their children.

My most important contribution has been serving as an Advocate for the many students I have worked with throughout the years. I have assisted families with children in elementary school through high school who have been diagnosed with AD/HD, Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, Speech/Language Disorders, Sensory Integration Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Mental Health and Behavioral concerns, and Neurological issues. I have extensive knowledge of both NC and Federal laws that guide the IEP team processes and procedures, facilitating countless IEP team meetings and consistently bringing team members to consensus. I was the Behavior Specialist for the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools and I trained staff on how to conduct Functional Behavioral Assessments and how to write Behavior Intervention Plans. I served on two community committees designing curriculum and expanding vocational opportunities for children with special needs. I am a past president of the Council for Exceptional Children for the state of NC.

As an Advocate, I am committed to ensuring that every student receives the appropriate and required services, interventions, and remediation so they can find their pathway to being a productive, happy, and contributing member of the community at large. For most children, adolescents, and young adults, this can occur in a traditional school setting, whereas others require an environment that is clinically focused to provide opportunities for academic achievement as well as physical and mental health.

In an effort to find appropriate opportunities and support for students, I have toured many local charter and private schools. As an Associate Member of IECA and NATSAP, I have also toured numerous schools and therapeutic programs throughout NC and the United States. My goal is to help each student find the right school to meet their individual needs.

Before moving to Chapel Hill, I lived in Washington, DC, working as a law firm administrator for Steptoe and Johnson and in Baltimore, MD, working for the Baltimore County Schools as a special education teacher. I hold a B.A. in Elementary and Special Education from St. Mary’s College of Notre Dame and an M.S.Ed. in Special Education from Duquesne University.

To quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, “To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens”. If I can be that special heart that listens to give your student hope and confidence, I would welcome the opportunity to do so.

Please feel free to contact me: 919-637-0019 or


Mary Jo Barnett, M.Ed