Northumberland High School may not be one of Virginia’s largest, but its principal, Dr. Travis Burns, is now one of the most prominent principals in the commonwealth.
Burns was recently elected President-elect of the Virginia Association of Secondary School Principals (VASSP). The statewide organization includes not only the state’s high school principals but principals of middle and elementary schools and school administrators.
It is Virginia’s chapter a national association of such official and Virginia’s is the fifth largest chapter in the country.
VASSP works to keep school administrators up to date on all aspects of improving education for students. To that end, it not only educates its members but stays in touch with the General Assembly and Virginia State Board of Education apprising them of what the educators need to do their very best jobs. After he serves a year as President-elect, Burns will take over as President of VASSP July 1, 2019. At that point, he will be the senior spokesman and policy maker for school administrators across the state.
Burns said Monday that VASSP serves as an advocate for professional development, which runs “a whole gamut of things” from school safety to hiring policies, “making sure the General Assembly understands the importance of procedures and provides funding for them.”
Burns said he joined VASSP in 2011 and since then has served as its, representative on the state’s Teachers Board for Licensure which provided him with more contacts around the state and knowledge of educational issues than he otherwise would have had. He also noted that he has been active on social media promoting policies he believes to be wise in the educational system. Burns said that those activities may have lead the VASSP’s nominating committee to propose his as the organization’s president.
Burns, a graduate of Mary Washington University with a masters degree and PhD from William and Mary noted he has had “some really good mentors” in his career, notably Ben Kiser who is now Executive Director of the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Kiser was Superintendent of schools in Gloucester County when Burns was there. “He kind of rubbed off on me,” Burns said.