Hillview Middle School principal named finalist for National Principal of the Year

by Contributed Content on July 15, 2013

Erik Burmeister, principal of Hillview Middle School in Menlo Park, CA, has been named a finalist in the 2014 MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program for his significant contributions to student achievement.

Burmeister was recognized as California’s 2012 Middle Grades Principal of the Year for his leadership at Union Middle School in San Jose before making the transition to Hillview in 2012. During his five-year tenure at Union, Burmeister implemented Response to Intervention, professional learning communities, and renewed the focus on closing the achievement gap. At Union, he instituted one of the first secondary models of RtI, enabling special education students to have access to a guaranteed viable curriculum taught by a highly qualified teacher.

After the first year, student test scores soared. As a result, the school’s Academic Performance Index jumped 117 points to 932. He also implemented classes such as Thrive and U-Turn to provide positive guidance for students with behavior issues. As a result, discipline incidents decreased, survey results showed 99 percent of parents said their children feel safe at school, and Union Middle School was recognized as Project Cornerstone Caring Middle School of the Year and a National Schools to Watch by the National Forum for Middle Grades Reform.

“As a result of Erik’s collaborative leadership and his working knowledge of curriculum and instruction, student performance at Union Middle improved dramatically during his tenure as principal,” said Jacqueline Horejs, superintendent of the Union School District. “He is knowledgeable, articulate, collaborative, creative, and above all, visionary.”

The search for the national principal of the year began in early 2013 as each state principals’ association selected its state principal of the year. From this pool of state award winners, a panel of judges selected three middle level and three high school finalists. The national middle level and high school winners will be named in September and recognized in Washington, DC, during the Principals Institute for State Principals of the Year, September 18-21, 2013.

Burmeister and the other five finalists will each receive a $1,500 grant, and the two national award winners —one high school and one middle level — will receive additional grants of $3,500. The grants will be used to improve learning at the school (e.g., a special school project and/or professional development opportunities).

Burmeister is the first Californian to be named a finalist in this program since James Dierke of Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco was named National Middle Level Principal of the Year in 2008.

MetLife and NASSP are strongly committed to supporting the visions of exemplary school leaders. For more information about the MetLife/NASSP National Principal of the Year Program, please visit www.nassp.org/POY.

Photo of Erik Burmeister by Irene Searles

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