Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 26
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
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Jason Burr Named Principal of JWMS

Ellen Gilbert

At a special meeting last week, the Princeton Regional Schools Board of Education approved the appointment of Jason Burr as principal of John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS).

Mr. Burr replaces William Johnson, who recently retired after serving the district for 34 years. “Mr. Johnson has recruited and developed a strong faculty over the decades and leaves a great legacy on which to build,” observed Superintendent Judy Wilson.

Most recently, Mr. Burr was assistant principal at the Montgomery Upper Middle School, a Blue Ribbon Schools Program award-winner in Montgomery Township. As principal at JWMS, his annual salary will be $143,000, effective August 16.

“I’m ecstatic to be part of such a cultured community,” said Mr. Burr. “It’s a wonderful opportunity.”

“I was very pleased to recommend Jason Burr for the JWMS principalship,” commented Ms. Wilson. “Many weeks, many interviews, and many voices were part of this important decision making process. In the end, of course, I had to balance what I believe is a match for the next era of success for our middle school students and their families and teachers. I believe Mr. Burr has the talent and energy to lead our JWMS community in the years ahead, and know that we can all look forward to sharing our ideas and recommendations with him as he becomes acquainted with the district. I am confident that Mr. Burr will continue to lead and support progress for all JWMS students in the years ahead.”

“The Board is really excited to welcome Jason Burr to the district,” said President Rebecca Cox. “We think he’ll be a great addition to a wonderful faculty at a great school with great students and parents.”

Mr. Burr, who received his M.A. in Educational Leadership at the College of New Jersey, described the application process as “an education” he wouldn’t have missed even if he didn’t get the job. “All the stake-holders were part of the process, including — and especially — the students,” he noted. “They worked very hard to find a person who would fill the role. I have a lot of respect for the process.”

Calling Princeton a “very supportive community,” he also expressed pleasure at the prospect of working with Superintendent of Schools Judy Wilson.

John Witherspoon Middle School’s mission statement describes it as serving “the intellectual, social, and developmental needs of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in the diverse Princeton Regional School District,” by challenging “all levels of ability” and responding “to a variety of learning styles.”

The middle school is also charged with nurturing “sensitivity to and an appreciation for” the students’ “diverse community. Socially, students need to feel that they are in a safe environment that encourages their growth as responsible citizens while supporting them in this phase of great change in their lives.”

“I love to be with students,” said Mr. Burr. “I plan to be very visible. I’m a collaborator. I really look forward to working with, and learning from others. There are so many talented people here.”

Mr. Burr, who taught social studies for ten years and served as assistant principal in Montgomery for two years, will have no teaching responsibilities at JWMS. He appears, however, to have been a hit with his students. “I had Mr. Burr four years ago. He was and always will be my favorite teacher! Keep up the good work!” exclaimed one entry on “You rock, Mr. Burr,” said another.

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