Twin Peak’s new principal comes from Del Norte
By Emily Sorensen
The new principal at Twin Peaks Middle School is going to have to do a little adjusting to get used to middle-schoolers, after years with high school students.
Moving from being an assistant principal at Del Norte High School, where she has worked for three years, to being the principal for a middle school seems like a difficult jump to make. But Dr. Kelly Burke has already made an even more difficult change in her past.
“Teaching is my second career,” said Burke, who previously worked as a management analyst in North County local government, working in Vista, San Elijo and Cardiff. When she turned 30, Burke realized that she wasn’t doing what she wanted.
“I think a lot of it was becoming a parent,” Burke said. “It made me realize how precious kids are and how little time we have with them.” Spurred on by this revelation and, already in possession of a master’s degree in public administration, Burke worked toward her Ph.D. in educational leadership. “I’ve always liked learning,” said Burke. During her time student teaching, she learned she liked the middle grades the best, Burke said.
“I was worried that I wasted my time getting my master’s in public administration,” Burke said. However, she said that she found her background helped her both in teaching and in education administration.
Burke taught literature, language arts and social studies to grades 6 – 8 at Sullivan Middle School in the Bonsall Union School District for five years, before transferring in 2004 to the Poway Unified School District. She worked as an assistant principal at Poway High School from 2004 – 2006, and at Rancho Bernardo High School from 2006 – 2008 before moving to Del Norte High School.
“Initially, I just need to learn more about the culture of the school and the community,” said Burke of her goals for the upcoming school year. “I want to take the experience I gained at the high school level, and bring it down to the middle school level.” Burke is also planning on making sure her middle school students are even more college ready than before. “We need to start them on the right path,” Burke said.
When she’s not working, Burke likes to spend time with her family at their Fallbrook home. Burke has two daughters, one of who will be starting sixth grade at Twin Peaks with her this year. Her older daughter just recently started at the U.S. Naval Academy. Burke and her family like to hike and spend time together, “whatever it is,” said Burke. They also have an avocado grove they tend. “We’re kind of country folk,” said Burke. “We like the relaxed pace.”
Burke hopes that the parents of her new school’s students will be equally relaxed around her. “They will find that I’m accessible, approachable and easy to talk to,” said Burke. “I’m here to support the kids, and set up every kid for long-term success.”
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