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Burris NYS principal of the year

Honored by state organization, in running for national award


Dr. Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, was recently named the New York State High School Principal of the Year by the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS).

Burris, who has been principal of SSHS for 13 years, was chosen among 11 other candidates. She was nominated by her colleagues in Nassau County, and the application that was submitted on her behalf included letters of recommendation from the superintendent, teachers, students and community members.

“Her instructional leadership and the level of support that she provides to her teachers really stood out as two strong, overwhelming qualities,” said Michelle Hebert, public relations official for SAANYS. “She’s a teacher at heart, and that’s what came through.”

According to SAANYS, Burris is well known for her efforts to eliminate tracking at the high school — offering paths of more rigorous study and increased opportunity for each and every student. By raising expectations, opening doors, and using high quality curriculum models such as the International Baccalaureate, Southside saw 99 percent of all its students, including 95 percent of minority students, graduate with a Regents diploma last year.

“I’m very proud to be associated with the work she’s done over the years in Rockville Centre,” said Superintendent Dr. William Johnson. “She’s an outstanding educator, an outstanding leader and has accomplished great things with South Side High School.”

Because of her win at the state level, Burris is now in the running as a candidate for the National High School Principal of the Year through the National Association of Secondary School Principals. The winner of that award will be announced in the Fall.

“I feel very luck to be leading such an extraordinary school that is supported so well by the Rockville Centre community,” Burris said. “I’m blessed with extraordinary teachers who give their all to kids and to what I think are the finest high school students in the country. I’m also very grateful to work for an excellent superintendent who has been such an active partner in positive school reform during my 13 years as principal. And for Boards of Education that have supported our quest for excellence and equity for all of Rockville Centre’s children.”

Burris will be honored for her accomplishments at an awards ceremony on May 10, 2013 at the Century House in Latham, New York.

“When I knew that she was being nominated, I would have been shocked if she didn’t win,” Johnson said. “Because I know her reputation among other principals, and I know that among principals in the state of New York, no one is more deserving than she.”