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Marion principal named Principal of the Year

BY Emily Rachelle Russell - erussell@chronicle-tribune.com

The Indiana Association of School Principals (IASP) has chosen Marion High School Principal Keith Burke as the High School Principal of the Year for District 6.

The association uses this award to recognize strong leadership on multiple levels. District 6 includes Grant, Blackford, Jay, Delaware, Henry, Wayne and Randolph counties.

“It’s always nice to be recognized for your accomplishments and also by your peers,” Burke said. “(But) I think individual awards are a little overrated. I’m really excited and truly honored, but it’s as much an award for the school as for the principal.”

The award process is based on nominations. Burke explained that, as he discovered later, the human resources department at the school asked other faculty and staff for notes on Burke’s personality, work and character.

To Burke, good leadership isn’t really about him as a principal. He stressed the importance of working together to lead the school, calling his leadership style "collaborative." He believes getting input and talking with others before making decisions for the school is vital, and he values a shared vision among faculty and staff.

“It’s an award for Marion High School,” he said. “It’s because of the accomplishments that we’ve made within the school and continuing to lead the state.”

The state of Indiana has 12 IASP districts which each have a principal of the year selected. The chosen principals then all attend a conference where a state-level Principal of the Year will be declared.

Burke has been at Marion High School since 2015, with a more than 20 year history working in Indiana public schools. He has received other awards in the past, such as the National Community School Principal of the year in 2006.

Running Marion High School all comes down to the kids, Burke said. The decisions leaders and teachers make are focused on what is in the students’ best interests.

For more information on IASP and its awards and programs, visit www.iasp.org.