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


“Mary Jo has always been there for us! Raising a child is not easy – we all know and experience that. There’s additional complexity raising a child with unique needs, which sometimes are not easily defined and change over time. We consider ourselves resourceful parents, but we were in despair when everything we tried did not work. We are grateful to have found Mary Jo, who focused on our daughter’s needs, provided new insights, and presented a range of options for us to consider. This is not an easy journey, but with Mary Jo’s guidance, we are confident that we are providing our daughter with the best resources to fulfill her dreams.”
Parent, 2014

“We feel so blessed to have found you, Mary Jo, an Education Consultant with such expertise, kindness and understanding. We know from the few weeks working with you that you have taken our son under your “wings” You have made this challenging and emotional process so much better for all of us. From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, thank you! You have given our son (and our family) a new beginning.”
Parent, 2013

“We met MaryJo during darkest time of our lives. We were lost in that we had no idea where to turn or who to turn to, to even begin to understand what he needed. One of the many therapists we were seeking advice from, suggested we turn to an Education Consultant. If you have any doubt in the necessity of an EC please rest assured. Since our journey began we have met a few families in our same boat who were trying to go it alone without an EC. The differences in our final result and theirs can not be emphasized enough. Mary Jo took the time to get to know us as individuals and was then able to adequately search her vast data base for and then advocate for the best path for our son. She found exactly the right Wilderness program for him with exactly the right therapist. Our son says that program and that therapist saved his life. So we deduct that Mary Jo saved his life. Mary Jo stayed in weekly contact with his therapist allowing her to continue to advocate for him and to continue to help us understand and guide him. Our son has just successfully completed the  RTC program he went to after Wilderness and is home to stay. That RTC program mentioned Mary Jo during the goodbye ceremony given to our son. Our son looked horrible on paper, but since Mary Jo KNEW us, she was able to advocate that he looked worse on paper than he really was and get him accepted into that RTC. The program stated how grateful they were to Mary Jo for bringing our son to them. You will be grateful too.

Parent, 2018

Working with Mary Jo at Pathways Education Planning has been a pleasure. Mary Jo is very professional, thorough and caring. You can be confident that she has done all the hard work finding the best fit for your child. We have worked with other education consultants in the past and by far Mary Jo is the best. Her follow up with us and the school and attention to  detail we feel goes above and beyond other consultants.  I would highly recommend her and will use her again.

Parent, 2017

“I cannot fully express my gratitude to  Mary Jo Barnett for being there and helping me, my daughter and our family during a very dark and difficult time in our lives, when nothing we tried seemed to work.  Mary Jo’s compassionate heart, professional and personal experience and expert skills were apparent at our  first meeting.  She quickly, astutely and empathetically assessed our situation and provided options for us to consider and helped us make the decisions that have led to hope and health and a more peaceful life.  Mary Jo has been there every step of the way and continues to provide us with guidance, support and advocacy for my daughter’s journey to a bright and hopeful future.  What Mary Jo has done for our family feels nothing short of miraculous!”

Parent, 2016

If you’ve hit a wall with your child – the current school environment is not working and the ramifications are wreaking havoc on all aspects at home – Mary Jo can provide you and your child with options of how to move forward.  There are more options than you realize, Mary Jo knows them all, and together, you’ll be able to determine which ones might best work for your child.

Parent, 2018

The decision to seek out-of-home education or treatment for a child is difficult and fraught with anxieties for parents. Mary Jo Barnett has a unique ability to connect with, and earn the trust of even the most hesitant parents. I am so thankful for her gift; with her gentle assurance and guidance, many troubled youth have been able to receive the help they need to develop the skills necessary to live healthy, positive lives.

Clinical Psychologist, 2017

I am very impressed with her expertise, through long, extended conversations, regarding the developmental needs of children from a professional perspective; she understands the complexity involved with special needs children and teenagers. As a family therapist, and Adoption Specialist (and an adoptive parent), she is well aware of the unique issues around placing (and parenting) an adopted child. Additionally, she has experience (both as a professional and a parent) in understanding learning disabilities and how these are major considerations in understanding a child both emotionally and educationally.

Independent Education Consultant, 2017

While Mary Jo did not fill out the applications for me, she was a guiding force and supported me in more ways than one. She allowed me to bounce ideas off of her, call or email her anytime . She was a wealth of knowledge in helping me find a place that was tailored to my son’s needs. She was the liaison between us and our son’s school. I felt like Mary Jo was always there when I was overwhelmed with the task at hand. She counseled me on how to work with the school to accommodate my son and she emailed and called the school to make sure that happened. She was an advocate for my son and that bolstered my commitment to getting him the help and support he needed.
Parent, 2015

“I can’t thank Mary Jo and Margaret enough for caring so much about my son and his future.  You ladies clearly aren’t in this for money – that is obvious.  I feel how much you want to help my son and my family and your compassion shines right through my darkness to provide clarity and light.  Your hard work on finding the right facilities for my son and for the wonderful recommendation letter for tomorrow’s FIEP are so much appreciated!

Honestly, I can’t say enough about how high I hold you both in esteem, you ladies rock!  So glad my path led to you….”

“My husband and I chose Margaret to advocate for our 13-year-old daughter, helping us to navigate the school system’s process for creating individual education assistance, helping us choose a therapist and tutor, and working with us to look at all of our options for potential high schools that would be a good fit.

All of her recommendations have been perfect for us.  Our daughter loves her therapist and her tutor – her grades have improved significantly, her homework gets completed and turned in without meltdowns, and her anxiety levels have been greatly reduced.

Margaret has also been invaluable in getting an IEP for our daughter – working with us to figure out the system, translate the jargon into language we can understand, communicating with the school staff directly on our behalf and attending school meetings with us in order to get the process completed in a way that is tailored to actually be helpful for our daughter as she moves into high school.

With Margaret’s help we’ve been able to see our daughter again as the bright and talented girl that she is instead of always thinking about how she’s falling behind.

We highly recommend Margaret to anyone who wants to locate, facilitate and create top-notch resources for their child.  She goes above and beyond to make sure that needs are not only met – they’re exceeded!”

“Margaret was instrumental in helping our daughter obtain accommodations for dyslexia. Her advice and guidance allowed us to navigate the challenging and tortuous path between the ADA law and the school system. With her help, we were finally able to secure the needed accommodations to let our daughter demonstrate her true abilities in the classroom and on standardized tests. She was a godsend when we felt beaten down by the system. We would recommend her without reservation.”

To Margaret:
“You were a blessing in my life and helped me so much! I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for you, so thank you so much!”

“I have had the opportunity to work with Ms. Maternowski in the public schools for over 15 years. Ms. Maternowski has served students and parents as a successful advocate and educator. She has expertise in navigating the educational system and in providing in depth knowledge of the IEP process. Ms. Maternowski excels in finding creative ways to meet student’s educational needs and support parents in the process. I highly recommend Ms. Maternowski as an exceptional educational consultant you can count on to work diligently with students, parents and schools to create an effective educational plan.”
Private Therapist

“I have/had three children attend the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools, one with a 504 and one with a very complicated IEP. When it came to supporting these students, Margaret exceled at her job. Not only did she know the legal parameters, defended the district, ran an organized program but most importantly, ALWAYS kept the student’s needs first. She is the most creative Program Facilitator that I know, and I have known many over the years. Believe me when I tell you it is not easy to be so creative in a large system with students that have such significant needs but Margaret found a way to make it work with parents, teachers and students.”

“Margaret has consistently initiated regular communication and collaboration, several times a year. Margaret made sure that we and our child were fully informed and involved, understood what was happening at every point, and had a part in the decisions affecting us. Margaret also independently recognizes opportunities to improve a students’ education and will bring these opportunities proactively to the student’s team.”

“I would like to wish Mrs. Maternowski the best on her new journey as an educational consultant. She was instrumental in our daughter’s educational journey in high school. My husband I first met Margaret as a Program Facilitator at the transition meeting from Middle to High school. She was a good communicator, enthusiastic, positive, and very well prepared, which led to a smooth transition into Carrboro High School.

She has always been very prompt to return phone calls and emails and to set up meetings. We have always felt a great connection and support from her. She was eager to listen to any issue and was very creative finding solutions. For example, electives for students in an Adaptive Curriculum Class, were almost non-existent, and yet she gave our daughter options in which she flourished!”