Change is Afoot at Hyattsville Elementary

Hyattsville Elementary School has a new principal who hails from Iowa.

Julia Burton has joined the administration after serving as principal of a school in Iowa City. She comes on board as the elementary is undergoing renovations to its exterior including renovating its entrance, adding a new retaining wall and installing a bioretention pond near its playground.

The Hyattsville Wire spoke with Burton in a phone interview Monday.

What brought you to Hyattsville?

I have always wanted to live out here. I have several friends in the metro area and have vacationed out here many times and have come out here for various reasons for business. My kids are grown, so I thought this would be a great time to come east. I applied for a principal position with Prince George’s County and after visiting with Superintendent [William] Hite, he thought this would be a great position with my background and skill set.

What is that skill set you bring?

I have worked in title and non-title schools. [Schools receiving Title I federal funding to help low-income students.]  I’ve worked closely with the arts community both in Des Moines, where I was a principal, and Iowa City, where I was a principal. I’m also the daughter of a professional artist. My mom is a ceramicist and painter.

What are your plans with Hyattsville Elementary School?

I think the beautification projects are important and the environment always makes a big impact with student learning, but my top priority has always been having highly engaged students with great teachers. I think it would be premature to give you a specific agenda when I’ve only been here for six days. I’m looking forward to increasing involvement with parents and other members of the community.

Tell me a little more about your background.

I was born in Chicago, but I grew up in Iowa and have three adult children —a 20-, 25- and 26-year-old. I began as an advancement placement high school English teacher. After that I was a gifted and talented education teacher and then went into administration and worked in Des Moines for 10 years.

For the last two years I was in Iowa City, which is my hometown, where I was principal. It was a kindergarten-through-6th grade Title I school with a 50 percent minority, 50 percent reduced lunch rate. It was also a cluster school for students with significant learning disabilities.

Julia welcomes anyone to email her with questions or comments

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