Rev. Donald Baker, together with members of the Search Committee, announce the selection of Ms. Kelly Burke as the new Head of School for the 2018-2019 school year for St. Stephen of Hungary School. The Search Committee conducted an exhaustive search, culminating with inviting candidates to the school campus for a day-long interview process. Candidates met with faculty, staff and students; fielded questions from parent focus groups; met with representatives from the Parents' Association and the St. Stephen School Foundation; and, made a presentation to the St. Stephen School Parent community.
Ms. Burke comes to St. Stephen School, having recently served as Principal of Sacred Heart of Jesus School, where together with the faculty, she led Sacred Heart of Jesus School to achieve the highest Growth Index Scores for the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) in the Archdiocese of New York for the 2017-2018 school year. Prior to her work at Sacred Heart, Ms. Burke was the Director of Fine Arts and Piano Instructor at Garrison School for the Arts, a 2015 United States Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. During her time at Garrison School for the Arts, Ms. Burke led the school to achieve national recognition as an Exemplary Status School through Accreditation by the Fine Arts Schools Network. Further, her nomination of Garrison School for the Arts and the Savannah Music Festival/Carnegie Hall Musical Explorers Program achieved the single highest award bestowed by the Fine Arts Schools Network nationally for Outstanding Community Partnership for 2016-2017.
Ms. Burke served as Principal and Vice President of Operations for the Bethesda Academy, the oldest child-serving institution in the United States, partnering with the National Center for Dropout Prevention at Clemson University to deliver research based instruction for at-risk young men in grades 6 - 12, in a boarding school setting. Under her leadership, the school adopted a competency-based curriculum, delivered by faculty and supported by adaptive technology both in and outside of the classroom. Students also participated in experience-based learning, utilizing the school's resources of a cattle farm, organic farm, free range chicken (egg) production, Nigerian Dwarf goat dairy production and nature preserve, located on the school's campus.
Prior to her time at Bethesda, Ms. Burke was the first female Head of School for Benedictine Military School, an all boys, Benedictine high school sponsored by St. Vincent Archabbey of Latrobe, PA. The school boasted a well established alumni association, a Gold Medal of Excellence JROTC Army program, and numerous championship athletic teams, regularly sending its graduates to top tier colleges and universities, including each of the United States Service Academies. Having served as the school's first Development Director, Ms. Burke led the school to its most successful capital campaign, Tradition Marching Forward.
Ms. Burke served as Principal of Our Lady of the Assumption School in Atlanta, GA, serving students in grades preschool through 8th grade in the Brookhaven section of Atlanta. Prior to her time at OLA, Ms. Burke served as adjunct professor in Music and the College of Education at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, New Mexico. Prior to this, she served as Principal and Music Teacher at Sacred Heart School in Clovis, New Mexico.
Ms. Burke is a musician, having played violin in the Columbus Symphony, the Macon Symphony, the Tulsa Philharmonic and the Albany Symphony. She has maintained a small studio for many years teaching piano and violin, regularly preparing students for high school, college and scholarship auditions. She is the mother of two sons: Hayden Barnes, who is an attorney and is married to speech therapist Kimberly Barnes; and, Colin Barnes, who attended the United States Merchant Marine Academy, graduated from SUNY Maritime College and is currently a Chief Mate for the United States Army Corps of Engineers.
We welcome Ms. Burke to our St. Stephen School Community and look forward to an exciting and productive school year!