's new principal has been on the job for a little over a week now, but the job is already a challenge.
First, there's the near endless number of introductory meetings and training sessions. But there's also the fact that Julia Burton is in the midst of a massive relocation, moving from the Des Moines, Iowa area and settling down in Washington, DC.
In between she has also taken the time to reach out to members of the Hyattsville Elementary School Parent Teacher Association, meeting with members of the executive committee over a meal at t on Baltimore Avenue.
When asked why she wanted to move nearly halfway across the country to manage Hyattsville Elementary, Burton said that she was ready for a change. She spoke excitedly at the prospect of moving into a downtown Washington apartment for at least year so she could experience the city life. She's also looking down the road and considering where she might like to permanently settle down, too. To that end she's keeping her eye on local housing opportunities as well.
"I've spent a lot of time vacationing or out on business here," said Burton. "Last summer I thought i could easily live out here and work out here. And who wouldn't want to live out here? There's a lot going on."
This will be Burton's 30th year in education. During that career she has worked as a teacher, a principal and the director of gifted education for the Des Moines public school system.
Burton received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa in 1993. She went on to earn her masters at the University of Northern Iowa and her doctorate at Iowa State University.
Burton credits the teachers of her childhood with inspiring her to get into education.
"It was something that intrigued me," said Burton. "It was never my intention to stay in education. I always thought I'd end up going to law school, but once I started teaching, I absolutely loved it."
When looking at Hyattsville Elementary School, Burton sees a few similarities with her former post as principal of Hanawalt Elementary School in Iowa, a Title I school with at least 75 percent of students coming from low-income families who qualify for free or reduced school meal plans. Title I schools, as such, are eligible for a variety of special funding.
Parents with children in Hyattsville Elementary may remember that the school lost its Title I status when the number of student who qualified for free and reduced lunch declined. putting a number of positions on the line.
"That is something that we'll have to work very hard for, to make sure the students get what they need and that we can perform with limited resources," said Burton.