Teacher Spotlight: St. Mary Magdalen's Principal Barbara Burke

St. Mary Magdalen School's principal loves being able to combine both her of God and her love of education.

Barbara Burke is principal at St. Mary Magdalen School. (Credit: Courtney Elko)
Barbara Burke is principal at St. Mary Magdalen School. (Credit: Courtney Elko)
Teacher Spotlight is where we will feature a local teacher who deserves recognition. Teachers give a lot to their students, schools and studies and we'd like to recognize them and say a simple, thank you, for all that they do.

Name:  Barbara Burke

School:  St. Mary Magdalen School

Position:  Principal 

Years in the Industry:  34 years, 6 years at St. Mary Magdalen  

Teaching History: 

Before coming to St. Mary's, Burke was principal at Notre Dame de Lourdes in Swarthmore for nine years but was at the school for a total of 25 years teaching mostly 2nd grade. She began her career at St. Francis of Assisi in Springfield and taught 2nd grade there for three years. 

Why did you become a teacher and also a principal:

From a very early age I had the ability to work with children and always look at children and see their potential. I was also encouraged by many of my own teachers to some day be a teacher myself. I was asked to be an administrator at Notre Dame. I was comfortable and enjoyed my time in the classroom so I had to give the decision to move to the administration side great pray and thought. But I decided it was where God wanted me to be. 

What do you like most about your job:

I love being able to combine both of my loves, my love of God and my love of education. To be able to be in a place where I can affect many children by sharing my own gift of faith is very rewarding. 

I take my role as guardian of the mission of Catholic education seriously here at St. Mary's. Someone said that to me once, when I was being trained to be a principal. I was reminded that I am the guardian of the mission so I do take that very seriously. I love that I can be enriched in my faith and share my faith and commitment with the children, as well as practice my craft.  

What do you hope your students get out of their time at the school:

I hope that they will leave being closer to God and become contributing members of our society. 


If you could change anything about education overall, what would it be:

I wish that the state would see us as a valuable asset and do more to support our efforts with funding and programs. We go a great job in forming these children in faith and knowledge. 

What do you like best about your current school:

I have a wonderful, dedicated faculty and parents who see the importance of education. To be in a place where we celebrate God in every way, everyday, is life fulfilling to me. 

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