Extraordinary Educator: Mike Burleson, Bonny Eagle High School
Author: Abby Rioux
Published: Monday, 09 May 2022
Image caption: Mike Burleson, Bonny Eagle High School
Junior Achievement of Maine, in partnership with MEMIC, recognizes educators for their tremendous work, passion, grit, and perseverance. As role models and mentors, educators empower, motivate, and inspire students to envision a future of possibility. Join us for our 2nd annual Extraordinary Educators campaign as we take a closer look at Maine educators, their stories, their commitment to serving our youth, and the impact they have on students.
Mike Burleson has worked with a wide spectrum of youth during his 15 years in education, most recently as an ELO teacher at Bonny Eagle High School. In this role, Mike works to build a program of offerings designed to support students gaining real world experience; often personalized and based on student interest and need. As colleague Jacob Newcomb notes, Mike “is very talented at making meaningful connections with his students and building a level of trust that is crucial for working with this age group. He is a positive presence in and out of the classroom, and he is someone that everyone in the building can look to for leadership, positivity, and effectiveness."
Read further to learn about Mike Burleson and why he’s a 2022 "Extraordinary Educator".
What is a mantra you live by?
I don’t really have a mantra that I live by, but my focus is around building relationships and motivating students to find things they are passionate about.
In what ways have your students surprised you this year?
Much of the work with our extended learning program where students continue to go above and beyond expectations.
If you could pass on any wisdom to your students, what would you share?
Find a job or career that you are passionate about and invest in yourself as a student and as a professional.
Share a moment when you felt most joyful or inspired about the work that you do.
Overseeing a senior student who completed an internship in HVAC this year. From day one he was 100% invested in the experience. His ability to immerse himself in the opportunity and take on valuable learning opportunities was incredible. I know it had a positive impact on the student and it was rewarding to be a part of the learning experience.
Is there a memorable JA moment that resonates with you?
For me it was bringing a group of students to the Titan Challenge on the UNE campus. It was a great ‘outside the classroom’ experience for the students to learn, work with community partners, visit a college campus and collaborate with students from other schools.
Thank you, Mike for serving Maine’s youth and inspiring the next generation! As graduating senior, Elizabeth F. shares, “there are few teachers as passionate and involved as Mr. Burleson; he has gone above and beyond to open doors for his students and present us with opportunities to craft our own education. I cannot thank him enough for what he has done for me.”
Learn how you can get involved as an educator, volunteer, or corporate partner and truly make a difference.
By following our Extraordinary Educators campaign on JA's social media platforms, you can help us honor Maine’s educators by showing your gratitude and appreciation for their tremendous service.