Burns named new principal at Riverview High School in Sarasota

Appointment expected to win School Board approval on July 19

Paul Burns. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools
Paul Burns. Image courtesy Sarasota County Schools

Riverview High School (RHS) Assistant Principal Paul Burns has been appointed principal of the school, effective July 11, the Sarasota County School District has announced.

Superintendent of Schools Lori White made the decision in late June, a news release says. Burns succeeds Eric Jackson, who served as Riverview principal for the 2015-16 school year; Jackson recently was named principal of Venice High School.

Burns holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and French from the University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in educational administration from Lindenwood University in St. Louis and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of St. Louis, the release explains. He was a Fulbright Scholar and a National African-American Scholar, it adds.

He taught for 11 years and has served in school administration for eight years, the release continues. Burns began his career as a French teacher in the St. Louis Public Schools and taught French and math for five years at a private high school in St. Louis before moving into school administration, the release notes.

He was an assistant principal at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis for two years and then assistant and later associate principal at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Mo., over a four-year period, the release says. He was named Assistant Principal of the Year in St. Louis in the spring of 2014, the release points out.

He accepted a position as an assistant principal at Venice High School for the 2014-15 school year prior to being assigned to Riverview High in 2015, the release adds.

“I am proud to have the opportunity to serve as principal of Riverview High School,” Burns said in the release. “RHS is an outstanding school community with a long tradition of academic excellence. I’m looking forward to continuing the tradition of academic excellence at Riverview while working with our students, families and teachers.”

Steve Cantees, the district’s executive director of high schools, said in the release that the field of applicants for the RHS job was strong, but Burns stood out. “He is a top 5-percenter,” Cantees added in the release. “He is a natural-born leader and relationship builder. He is highly motivated and constantly learning about teaching and learning. He is always studying and applying the latest educational research.”

Although Burns will begin work on July 11, his appointment must be approved by the School Board, the release notes. That is expected on July 19, the release says.