Several new faces joined the Fargo Public Schools this summer in leadership positions. In the first of a series, meet David Burkman, the District’s new director of alternative education, and the principal of the Woodrow Wilson program at Agassiz.
Why did you initially want to get into the field of education?
I come from a family of educators. My grandma was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, where lighting the pot belly stove was the first task each winter morning. Both my parents were teachers. I saw the challenges and rewards found in an educational career, making a positive difference in kids’ lives. My teaching experience started with being a summer recreation supervisor in my hometown – Menahga, Minnesota.
What did you do before accepting your most current position?
I had the pleasure of working with a committed and talented team of educators in Cedar Mountain (Minn.) Schools, which serves the communities of Morgan and Franklin. I was principal of the 6th – 12th grade MS-HS in Morgan, a building that served 260 students. I was in Rochester, Minn., for 16 years prior to that as a teacher, teacher leader and coach.
Tell us about your family:
I have been blessed with a wonderful wife, Gina, and 3 great kids. We like taking walks, traveling, and spending time with extended family and friends, which includes time at Robert Moses Beach on Long Island – one of our favorite spots!
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to hunt and fish with family and friends. The Minnesota deer hunting opener is always a highlight.
What about FPS makes you most proud?
I am principal at Woodrow Wilson, which is a choice school. I am proud that the Woodrow Wilson staff and students choose to work together to help students achieve a high school diploma. Woodrow Wilson students and staff are proud of the respectful climate at the school; bullying and inappropriate teasing isn’t accepted by students or staff. Also, I am so proud of our students who are working to overcome some incredible life challenges to realize a brighter future. Finally, I am very pleased to be proud of a dedicated, creative, interactive administrative team at Fargo Public Schools.