Message From Our Principal

  • Thank you for visiting the Robert J. Burch Elementary School website!  Burch is a wonderful place where we practice our values of being our personal best and being kind by being respectful, responsible and safe every single day.  It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the principal of this amazing Title I school. I believe that Burch is the very best school because of our awesome students and parents, supportive community partners, and our dedicated, intelligent and tenacious staff that believes all students can learn at high levels.

    This begins my 35th year as a public school educator and my third year serving as principal of Robert J. Burch Elementary. Previously, I served as an assistant principal in Fayette County for ten years and as a teacher in Fayette County and Knoxville, TN for 23 years. I have taught Kindergarten through 12th grades and have loved them all.

    As an educational leader, my first priority will always be what is best for children, followed closely by support for our teachers. I believe both students and teachers deserve to learn and work in a safe and positive environment where they are welcomed, supported, challenged, encouraged and celebrated. I believe in building relationships with the school community and fostering a climate and culture of high expectations for everyone.  Burch is well known as a place where students and families love to be. Our staff takes pride in maintaining a safe, warm and welcoming culture that is evident as soon as you enter our doors.

    At Burch, we go above and beyond to meet the needs of our students and help them develop into curious, capable, and compassionate citizens. In 2018, we began our Dens of Respect promote building friendships and understanding, demonstrating our values and service, and developing leadership and empathy.  Each Thursday, promptly at 7:40am, we gather in our dens (named for four types of bears - Andean, Bhalu, Panda, and Polar) to greet and celebrate each other before breaking into smaller mixed-grade Sleuth groups (groups of bears are called sleuths) to focus on relationships and character education. Our specials teachers lead our students in weekly extended STEAM units designed to promote creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and communication. On any given day, you’ll find students and adults making connections between content and the real world, serving others, contemplating, collaborating, and problem solving in our classrooms, garden, and the community.

    Burch is blessed to have the support of families, friends, businesses, churches and community organizations. For the past two years, our families and community partners have logged over 1000 yearly volunteer hours in service to our school. How incredible is that?  On any given day, you’ll find volunteers greeting students, opening car doors, selling ice cream, assisting parents, working with students in small groups, supervising student play, assisting with Dens and STEAM, sharpening pencils, organizing materials, and more. Our students, families, and staff appreciate our volunteers and their presence in our school has a positive impact on our students. There are so many ways you can support our school and I challenge you to get involved.

    Our PTO works tirelessly to support both the academic and fun sides of our school.  Burch PTO offers numerous opportunities for you to give back to our school. If you have not signed up to volunteer somewhere, please contact our PTO via Facebook (Burch Elementary PTO), the PTO web page or our front office.  How wonderful it would be if all families committed to giving 5 hours of volunteer time to our school! Imagine the impact this could have in our building! 

    Burch is fortunate to have Partners in Education who realize the importance of investing in children and supporting local schools. Family, business, and community partners have donated emergency lanterns, sponsored our Bare Tracks 5K, built gardens, delivered goodies for our staff, donated STEAM materials, served as Celebrity Bus Riders, and volunteered during and beyond the school day.  Please make yourself familiar with our partners on the P.I.E. tab of our home page and take the time to support and appreciate them whenever you can.

    Beyond Burch, I have a passion for JENKINS ROAD.  I take very personally the responsibility for having our students ready to go across the road to Flat Rock Middle School.  If they leave here having mastered the academic standards, and with a true love of learning, I know they will experience success as their educational journey continues!

    I’m looking forward to spending the school year learning and growing with the Burch community!

    Follow us on Twitter: @rjburches, #burchbears, #jenkinsroad


    Lisa Howe