Jennifer Burgin, a second grade teacher at Oakridge Elementary School, has been named the 2016 Arlington Public Schools Teacher of the Year.
“Jennifer Burgin represents the outstanding qualities of teaching in APS that have earned her this recognition, including her leadership as an instructional leader and mentor, her commitment to her profession, and her strong belief that all students can and will succeed,” said Superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy. He continued, “Her ability to connect with her students along with the passion and dedication that she brings to her work are inspiring. She is extremely committed to helping children succeed in all areas – academically, socially and emotionally.”
Burgin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University, graduating with honors in 2005. She earned the designation as a National Board Certified Teacher in 2013 and has served as an Educator Consultant to the National Boards for Professional Teaching Standards.
She began her career as a second grade teacher at Horne Elementary School in the Cy-Fair Independent School District in Houston, Texas. She taught there for four years, before accepting a position as a teacher at Oakridge in August 2009. During her time at APS, Burgin has served as the third grade team leader for four years, has presented at many professional development events, authored the third grade social studies project assessment, served as a new teacher hiring screener, and participated as a member of the Counseling Advisory Committee.
Dr. Lynne Wright, Oakridge Principal, described Burgin as a model teacher that the entire school community is proud to recognize. “Her love of education and learning permeate her being, and Ms. Burgin defines what it means to be a lifelong learner,” said Wright. “Her thoughtful and deliberate planning and vision inspire students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn.”
Burgin is admired by colleagues, parents and students alike. Former colleague Bailey Davis Calloway writes that “Jennifer has the ability to connect with all children in a way that makes them feel safe, loved, and understood. She becomes a cherished person in their lives.” Oakridge parent Karen Wang added that “the secret to her success is her natural ability to identify and appreciate the unique talents of each student.” Former student Isabella Stark summed it all up, writing, “Being taught by someone who genuinely cares for you, and nurtures you throughout your academic hardships, is the best thing you could ever ask for. She wasn’t just a teacher for me, she was a friend.”
Outside the classroom, Burgin is active in a variety of learning pursuits. She has participated in the George Mason University English Language Arts Cohort, was chosen as a Global Village Summit Select Educator, and participated in the Library of Congress Primary Resources Institute.
Burgin will serve as Arlington’s nominee for the 2016 Virginia Teacher of the Year Award, and is one of 19 metropolitan area teachers who have been recognized as a finalist for The Washington Post 2016 Teacher Award.
On Wed, May 18, the School Board, staff and APS community will recognize Burgin and the 33 other APS teachers who have been named Teacher of the Year for their individual schools. The celebration will be held at Washington-Lee High School, and will also recognize this year’s APS Principal of the Year and the Support Employees of the Year. The reception will be at 7 p.m. and the program will begin at 7:30 p.m.
This year’s APS Teacher of the Year school-based honorees include:
Abingdon Elementary School – Sonjia Scott Davis
Arlington Career Center – Ruth Bilodeau
Arlington Mill High School – Patricia Conroy
Arlington Science Focus Elementary School – Stephanie Lin
Arlington Traditional Elementary School – Tiffani Ker
Ashlawn Elementary School – Kathryn M. White
Barcroft Elementary School – Kristin Shymoniak
Barrett Elementary School – Heather Weir
Campbell Elementary School – Pamela Clark
Carlin Springs Elementary School – Meghan Neary
Claremont Elementary School – Carole Ebert
Drew Elementary School – Adriana Alcorn
Glebe Elementary School – Jenna Pertl
Gunston Middle School – Jennifer Kelly
H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program – Mignon Flournoy Kery
Hoffman-Boston Elementary School – Vivian Pelletier
Jamestown Elementary School – Amy Seif Blaine
Jefferson Middle School – Heidi Neunder
Kenmore Middle School – Michele Lombard
Key Elementary School – Anna Valle
Long Branch Elementary School – Gregory D’Addario
McKinley Elementary School – Dena Hermanek
Nottingham Elementary School – Hannah Mendelson
Patrick Henry Elementary School – Susan Lewis
Randolph Elementary School – David Siu
Stratford Program – Amy Engel
Swanson Middle School – Eric Berman
Taylor Elementary School – Allison Owens
Tuckahoe Elementary School – Mimi Kramer-Roberts
Wakefield High School – Michelle Harris
Washington-Lee High School – Steven Brown
Williamsburg Middle School – Patricia Carlson
Yorktown High School – Brian Bersh