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Sarasota Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 1 week ago

Riverview High principal leaving for job with state

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Paul Burns will start with the Florida Department of Education Jan. 3.
by: Cassidy Alexander Staff Writer

Paul Burns, the principal of Riverview High School, has accepted a position with the Florida Department of Education, and will not return to the school after winter break.

Burns will be deputy chancellor for educator quality for the state, and will oversee teacher certification, retention and recruitment.

Riverview High School

“It is absolutely bittersweet,” Burns said. “I have been on, really, a roller coaster, in reflecting on the highs of being at Riverview. I am thankful that I got the opportunity to serve our school community. It was very difficult for me to think about leaving Riverview.”

However, Burns said, now he will be serving all 67 of Florida’s school districts, and he will continue to be connected to Sarasota County.

In a message to parents and administrators, Sarasota County Executive Director of High Schools Steve Cantees called Burns “a great leader for Riverview.”

Assistant Principal for Curriculum Kathy Wilks

“While we are sad to see him leave for Tallahassee, we are honored that one of our administrators has been selected for this important position in our state’s education system,” Cantees said in the message.

Burns will begin his position with the state Jan. 3.

When students return from the winter break, Assistant Principal for Curriculum Kathy Wilks will serve as acting principal. A search for a new principal will begin in the spring.

Burns taught for 11 years and served in school administration for eight years. He began his career as a French teacher with St. Louis Public Schools before moving into school administration. 

He joined the Sarasota County School District as an assistant principal at Venice High School for the 2014-15 school year. He became an assistant principal at Riverview High in 2015 and was named principal in June 2016. During his tenure, the school maintained its “A” grade and improved its performance, according to a release from Sarasota County Schools.    

Burns earned his Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Arkansas, his Masters of Arts in Educational Administration from Lindenwood University and his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Saint Louis University. He is an E.W. Fulbright Scholar, Rotary Scholar and has been both a Leadership Florida Education participant and program facilitator.

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