Assuming the office of assistant principal after Liana Bolton left, Michelle Burnett plans to help make all of the adjustments for the 2020-2021 school year easy for the student body.
Q: What prompted you to take the Assistant Principal position at Southside?
A: To be honest, there’s always been a curiosity about being at this level. I used to get jealous of my husband having some freedom to do some things. So, when I was informed that Mrs. Bolton wanted to get back in the classroom. I was approached and I said yes immediately. Before that, I was working at two schools and that was challenging.
Q: What has your career path been prior to Southside?
A: I have been a classroom teacher, a school counselor, and a cheer coach. It has mainly been counseling and teaching in a classroom before this
Q: How does it feel leaping from elementary/junior highs to a high school? What are some differences you have noticed on campus?
A: When my husband was here, I knew things, but I didn’t know the depth of things. So the way high school’s function really is totally different from the way any other level functions. Kids have a lot more freedom to make their own choices which is good but I’m thinking, okay, child development, from my counseling years. What are they supposed to be doing at this stage? How can I be a nurturer to them? I think the biggest learning curve for me is discipline and how they handle it at this level.
Q: How do you plan on making the 2020-2021 school year more comfortable for the staff and student body?
A: When I enter a new building, I want to get to know you guys and how to help you. I’m the administrator for the English department and I would just like to sit down, and talk, and see what you need from me and see what Mrs. Miller needs from me and what her expectations are for me. This year, I really just want to get to know the logistics.
Q: What are some hurdles you think may come up for you?
A: The curriculum. I get grammar, I got that. But just to get acquainted with the standards, getting with the teachers and seeing what they need to help you all, and all of this technology stuff. Google Suites are a little hard and Schoology is completely new for me.
Q: There are many parents and students that are questioning whether Southside is approaching reopening correctly, if there was one thing you could do differently, what would it be?
A: That’s a good question, because so much is going on and we know that the world is in a situation which we haven’t been in in a century. I would start with reviewing and making sure everyone is on the right page and understands the reason behind everything we’re doing. And, that’s what we’re doing right now as an administration. We want to give you guys certain liberties and freedoms without compromising your safety; and, it’s been a little difficult to juggle both. I suggest ideas, and if they’re taken, they are and if they’re not, my feelings aren’t hurt because seeing as though I’m new, there are some things I don’t know about the workings here. I’m just the new kid on the block so I’m still figuring stuff out.
Q: What are some of your goals and expectations for the sophomore class?
A: I want them to really develop their leadership skills. Strive to be a leader. I want them to take it upon themselves to be responsible and know their objectives everyday.
Q: How do you plan to engage with the sophomore class despite the obvious setbacks?
A: We’re implementing this coaching program where, on certain days, I’m not in the office. I’m out in the hallways. And, it’s a little awkward because sometimes I’ll say hi and people won’t say anything back. But, the people that do, make me so happy.
Q: If you could speak to the people that are doubtful and uncertain about Southside’s ability to safely conduct the school year, what would you say to them?
A: This is a very unusual year. I hope and pray that no other year will come around in my lifetime like this. I know scheduling was chaotic but we’re all in this together. We’re learning together. But, I promise we’re just learning too. I mean, COVID hit us like lightning. But, we’re observing and conversing and learning.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add or you would like people to know?
A: I’m not a big bad wolf. I mean what you see is pretty much what you get. I’m approachable, I try to be fair. Even though you’re older than the kids I’m used to dealing with, you’re all still kids and I look forward to connecting with you all.