Burlingame hired as new elementary principal

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/2/99.

Burlingame At their regular Tuesday night meeting, the Paynesville Area School Board approved hiring Todd Burlingame to replace Gary Heineman, elementary principal, who retired June 3.

The school board met in special session on Monday, May 24, to interview the two finalists for the position of elementary school principal.

Dave Nystuen, Lewiston, was the other finalist for the position. Nystuen is a graduate of Winona State University. He did his student teaching in Lewiston and taught in the second and third grade level eight years. He left teaching for a period of time and worked in sales.

Nystuen told the board he missed education and returned to school to receive his administration degree. He has served as the Lewiston principal three years.

Burlingame, a native of Canby, is a 1990 graduate of Southwest State University, Marshall. His first teaching job was in Volga, S.D., where he taught in a fourth grade self-contained classroom. While in South Dakota, he attended classes at South Dakota State University working towards his masters degree in elementary administration.

In 1993 , Burlingame and his family moved to the Minnewaska Area where he taught fifth and sixth grade math in Starbuck. While teaching there, he was able to complete his sixth year degree for elementary principal certification in 1997 at St. Cloud State University, and is currently the fourth through sixth grade school principal at Virginia, Minn.

Burlingame said he likes the Paynesville area and the position here would give him an opportunity to move closer to family.

Burlingame told the board he would bring great enthusiasm to his job and a strong interest in technology.

In reference to how he would handle discipline in the school, Burlingame said he had visited with Heineman and is proud to move into such an excellent school. "I hope to be able to continue what Gary has started. I looked at the school discipline policy and found Gary has everything in place. I will keep fine tuning what he has established," Burlingame added.

"I'm not an office person," he stressed. "I want to be visible in the hallways, classrooms, and lunchroom. It helps take away the threatening presence of the principal (that) students often envision."

Burlingame informed the board that his three strong points are his love for kids and teaching; his knowledge of curriculum and the graduation standards; and his communication and listening skills.

"I believe is it everybody's role to make the school successful from the custodians and teachers to the parents. Kids need to be first in everything we do," he added. Burlingame said he is a big proponent of technology and added that schools should be open and welcoming to the public and students.

As a former Canby wrestler, Burlingame is excited to become part of a community with a strong tradition in wrestling as he has enjoyed 10.5 years coaching and two years officiating. He and his family enjoy golfing, fishing, boating, an biking.

"My family is looking forward to calling Paynesville home," Burlingame said.

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