Dumar Burgess

As principal of Hawthorne Park Elementary, Dumar Burgess’ leadership has centered on two strategies to better student outcomes: improving teacher practice and implementing engaging programs that support the whole child. According to parent and teacher Michelle-Anne Spring, this approach has allowed Burgess to transform HPE into a “dynamic 21st Century learning organization by driving technological innovations and designing systems and processes that strengthen the framework of the school community.” When Burgess arrived at HPE, the school environment reflected an ineffective teacher-centered pedagogy, with little or no evidence of technology-supported instruction or cooperative learning. In the seven years since, Burgess has implemented a successful school-wide PBIS program and enabled a complete transformation of the school’s literacy program to be student-centered, implementing a variety of initiatives to support differentiation and encourage higher-level thinking. Dumar chose the Balanced Literacy Framework to anchor the new program and took a systematic approach to ensuring that necessary scheduling, professional development, and technological elements were in place to catalyze its success. A firm believer in distributed leadership, Burgess “magnifies himself through teachers and staff” to carry out his mission of education for the whole child. He holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Lincoln University, an M.S. in Education Administration from Gwynedd Mercy University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Rowan University.