PSU Alumnus Sean Burke takes top state honor

Sean Burke, IAL/MA ’02, Assistant Principal of Curriculum at McMinnville High School, has been named Oregon’s 2012 Assistant Principal of the Year by the Oregon Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA). As a state winner he was automatically entered into the national competition, placing in the top three finalists.

Mr. Burke has been an educator at McMinnville for 18 years, 10 as curriculum vice principal. He has been a social studies teacher, sports coach, and athletic director. He is described by his colleagues as quiet, optimistic, and dedicated. “My focus is on the students and increasing the number of kids who are prepared for going to college and having a career,” he says.

At McMinnville High School, his students have made great strides; state assessment results have increased by double-digits and enrollment in their 50+ advanced placement courses is higher than ever. “It’s really exciting to go to ELL parent night and they realize their kids are earning college credit while they are going to school here,” Mr. Burke says. “When they finish [high school] they already have a college transcript. That’s pretty exciting for those families and those kids.”

Mr. Burke is a graduate of GSE’s Initial Administrator Licensure (IAL) program. “PSU has a phenomenal educational administration program,” said Mr. Burke, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Oregon University and a master’s from the University of Portland.

“I went into education for probably all the wrong reasons,” he says. “I wanted to be a coach. Then I found out I really had a passion for working with students and helping them achieve their goals. Every stop, whether it was Western Oregon, University of Portland, or Portland State, it was just about giving me those tools for working with kids and helping them with their needs out there.”

In addition to his other accomplishments, Mr. Burke is responsible for building the successful partnership between McMinnville School District and Evergreen Air and Space Museum that sponsors the Engineering and Aerospace Sciences Academy (EASA). The program, held at the museum near McMinnville, offers high school students a truly unique opportunity to access science and technology in a hands-on way.

Mr. Burke was honored at the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) Assistant Principal’s Conference in March and will also be honored at the COSA Seaside Conference in June. The award is sponsored by the National Association of Secondary School Administrators.

Read the COSA press release

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