Project Description

Melissa L. Barber

Special Counsel, Education Law Practice

Before joining Caplan & Earnest, Melissa L. Barber served as general counsel for the Boulder Valley School District. For over twelve years in that position, Melissa was responsible for administering and overseeing the overall legal functions for the eighth largest school district in Colorado. Melissa has extensive experience resolving complex issues within a political and public environment, using a practical and collaborative approach whenever possible. To Caplan & Earnest’s Education Law practice, she brings over-twenty five years of experience in legal and policy compliance matters, including special education, Constitutional issues, discipline and school safety, employment law, contracts, inter-governmental agreements, student data privacy, open meetings and records, parliamentary procedure, charter schools, insurance/risk management, elections, and staff training. She has represented school districts in federal and state trial and appellate courts, State Board of Education, Office for Civil Rights and EEOC.

Melissa is a current board member (2016-present) and past chair (2018) of the In-House Committee for the National School Boards Association’s Council of School Attorneys, past chair (2015) of the Colorado Council of School Board Attorneys, and a member of the Colorado and Boulder County Bar Associations.

Melissa enjoys time with her family, reading, trail running, skiing, and equestrian pursuits.


  • Cornell University Law School, J.D.

  • University of Texas at Austin, B.A.
    Special Honors, Philosophy


Seminars & Presentations

  • Annual Legal Update to BVSD School Administrators (2006-2018)

  • “Seeking Counsel: Risky Business,” American School Board Journal, April 2018

  • “School Employee Access to Free and Reduced Price Meal Eligibility Status,” Inquiry & Analysis, NSBA Council of School Attorneys, January 2010

  • Frequent presenter/panelist to school administrators and school lawyers on a variety of education law topics, including discrimination, special education, school safety, student data privacy, bullying, and free speech.

Associations & Memberships

  • Boulder Bar Association, Member

  • Colorado Bar Association, Member

  • Colorado Council of School Board Attorneys, Chair, 2015

  • NSBA Council of School Attorneys, Board Member, In-House Committee Chair, 2018

Past Employment

  • Boulder Valley School District, Legal Counsel

  • Semple, Miller, Mooney & Farrington, P.C., Associate

  • Office of the Colorado Attorney General, Employment Section, Assistant Attorney General