Professor Canty-Barnes earned her B.A. from Bennett College (summa cum laude) and her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law–Newark. She is the Director of the Education and Health Law Clinic and a Clinical Professor of Law where she represents indigent parents and caregivers of disabled children in need of educational services; teaches law students in this specialized area of the law; and provides educational programs for parents/caregivers, attorneys, and others responsible for the welfare of disabled children.
As Director of the clinic, Professor Canty-Barnes was instrumental in developing and implementing one of New Jersey’s first “Special Education in the Courts Initiative” to heighten the importance of addressing the educational needs of disabled children in the Courts; developed programs and trainings for attorneys and underserved populations of families; and works to ensure equal access to education for disabled children and their families who are unable to afford legal representation. She served on the Supreme Court Committee on Women in the Courts for 10 years, where she was appointed the first chairperson to the subcommittee on women of color, and was instrumental in conducting a survey and report on women of color in 2009 titled “Survey Perceptions of Race and Gender in the New Jersey Courts.”
She is a member of NJ Court Improvement Committee where she serves as a resource to the committee on the educational needs of disabled children who routinely come before the court and is a member of the AALS Clinical Legal Education Association. She is a recipient of several awards, including: AALS Clinical Legal Education Shanara Gilbert Award; National Association of Women Judges, District III Award; ABWL Award; Presidential Citation from the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Higher Education; and Outstanding Woman in Law and the “Belle Ringer” Awards from Bennett College. She is a former president of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, a former barrister of the William Heckel Criminal Litigation Inn of Court at Rutgers Law School, and a former presiding municipal court judge for the Township of Irvington.
She served on a number of organizations focusing on the children and the underserved populations including the "CVS ALL KIDS CAN" Foundation and the NJ Children in the Courts Improvement Committee where she played an integral role in developing programs and highlighted the importance of focusing on the educational needs of children with disabilities and children of color in foster case. She currently serves as a member of Essex County Vicinage on Minority Concerns, Social Justice Committee of the United Methodist Women, and colloborates with various organization in developing programs and training to address the educational needs of children with disabilities and their families.