Riverview High principal named to state education post

Wilks to serve as acting principal

Paul Burns. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Schools

Florida Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has named Riverview High School Principal Paul Burns as the Florida Department of Education’s deputy chancellor of educator quality, effective Jan. 3.

Burns will bring to the position nearly 20 years of experience in education, a Sarasota County School District news release points out.

“Dr. Burns has been a great leader for Riverview,” Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Todd Bowden said in the release. “While we are sad to see him go, we are honored that one of our own administrators has been selected for this important position in our state’s public education system.”

“I am excited by this opportunity to work with teachers and administrators throughout Florida to recruit and nurture great educators in our state,” Burns was quoted in the release. “I will miss Riverview students, families and staff and I thank them and my colleagues at the school district for supporting me as principal.”

Beginning Monday, Jan. 8 — after the school district’s winter break — Kathy Wilks, Riverview High assistant principal for curriculum, will serve as acting principal, the release points out. Wilks has performed the duties of principal in Burns’ absence, the release notes. “A search for a new principal will begin in the spring,” the release adds.

Burns, who taught for 11 years, has served in school administration for eight years, the release continues. He 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. He was named Assistant Principal of the Year in St. Louis in the spring of 2014, the release points out.

He joined the Sarasota County School District as an assistant principal at Venice High School in the 2014-15 school year. Then, in 2015, he became an assistant principal at Riverview High; he was named principal in June 2016, the release notes. During his tenure, the school maintained its “A” grade and improved its performance, the release adds.

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