Mississippi College

MC Graduate Richard Burge Named National Distinguished Principal

May 16, 2012

When people say they love it at Lovett Elementary, it’s a reflection on a terrific Clinton school filled with superb teachers and top-notch administrators.

On Tuesday, Richard Burge, the principal of Lovett Elementary and a Mississippi College graduate, received a national award that points to his success at the school since 2006.

Burge was named a National Distinguished Principal and he was the only one in Mississippi to receive that honor.

“Mr. Burge holds his students and teachers to a high standard of achievement, he is a strong manager and he hires only the best teachers,” said Phil Burchfield, superintendent of the Clinton Public School District. “What he’s doing at Lovett is a formula for success. He is a model for principals at any level.”

Cindy Melton, the chair of MC’s teacher education programs, also pours on the praise for Burge, who’s doing a “fantastic job” at Lovett.

Students know they must “toe the line” for him and other educators at Lovett, but they also find the school to be “such a friendly place,” Melton says. “This is a very deserving honor for him. Mr. Burge helps us so much with the placement” of MC School of Education graduates and student-teachers, she said.

An MC graduate, Melton did her student teaching at Lovett Elementary. Burge “fit right in” the moment he walked in the door at the school, she said.

The National Distinguished Principal program is sponsored by the National Association of School Principals to spotlight outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators. In October, Burge will join other distinguished principals from around the nation as they travel to U.S. Department of Education in Washington to receive the honors.

Melton noted that Burge’s wife, Julia, is an excellent third-grade teacher at Clinton’s Northside Elementary.

Burge received a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from William Carey University in Hattiesburg and a master of education in supervision and administration from Mississippi College. A former coach, he also served as an administrator at Perry Central High in New Augusta and Madison Central High in Madison before joining the Clinton public schools six years ago.

Lovett received other good news when Michelle Brister, a sixth grade math teacher at the school, received a $25,000 award from the Milken Family Foundation. She received one of its national educator awards in late November.

“Her positive attitude and love for teaching children are reflected in the outstanding quality of teaching that she provides her students,” Burge said at the time.

Photo: Richard Burge

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