Meet William Burgess PS principal, Jennifer Zurba

A Town Crier Community Column

For the past few months, I’ve been highlighting some of the principals and schools in the Toronto-Danforth community. This month I had the opportunity to speak with Jennifer Zurba, principal of William Burgess Public School.

It is always interesting to discover why our teachers and principals chose to get into education. For Zurba, it was the power she believes education has to change people’s lives.

“It has the power to connect people and bring them closer together,” she explains. “The power to develop empathy and an appreciation of alternative ideas and ways of doing and being in the world. Education truly empowers people.”

However, being a principal brings a new level of new rewards and new challenges to the role of teaching.

“A previous principal and mentor of mine once told me that being a principal is the same as being a teacher, you just have more students,” said Zurba. “What I love (about being a principal) is that I get to work with our great teachers, and spark discussion around practice and pedagogy in ways that will hopefully trickle into the classroom and influence the learning of all students.”

Zurba is relatively new to William Burgess PS. Having previously served as vice principal at Jackman Avenue PS and teaching at various schools. She was promoted to principal and moved to William Burgess PS for the start of the 2011–2012 school year.

“I feel like I have landed in a little slice of heaven here at William Burgess,” she said. “The parent council has been so warm and welcoming and the staff are not only great at what they do, but they are nice, really nice, good people. Every one here works really hard, with their eyes always on our purpose.”

Though new to William Burgess PS, Zurba is very familiar with the Toronto-Danforth community, where she has lived with her family, and worked, for many years.

“It truly is a community,” she says. “You can walk to your grocer, your fruit market, your coffee shop … it is all accessible by walking down the street.

“Having the school in such a close-knit neighbourhood allows us to have a great relationship with the community organizations that service our kids and families. There is a true partnership.”

About this article:

By: Cathy Dandy
Posted: Mar 8 2012 2:38 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto