New energy leads the English Department


Fara Wiles

Sarah Burford can be found in the hallway after school, advising the step team. Photo taken on Sept. 26, 2022 by Fara Wiles

Beloved Sarah Burford takes on new adventures in the building as the English department chair, and AP English 11 teacher.

When it comes to English, many students had Burford as their core or magnet 10 English teacher last year, and it’s no secret that she is well-liked by her students. This year, Burford has moved on to teach AP Language, which is typically an 11th grade course. 

“She’s super nice,” said Abigael Selkirk, a student who has had Burford for magnet as a 10th grader and now AP Lang as an 11th grader. “She’s such a bubbly person.”

Given her education, Burford feels like it’s a good fit.

“My masters degree is in linguistics, so I love being able to explore language and talk about language, so this gives me a unique opportunity to flex both muscles,” said Burford. “My English teacher side and my linguistics side for the first time get to work together, and that’s really fun.”

On top of teaching a new course, this year Burford has taken on the job of English department head. Department heads serve as a leader for the other teachers in the department. 

“The department chair has a lot of responsibility,” said AP assistant principal Amanda Malbon, who oversees the English department.

The long list of required tasks includes developing a budget, auditing gradebooks, and developing curricula, but this demanding position, as it turns out, was not one that Burford went looking for.

“I kind of have a professional philosophy of ‘I go where there’s a need,’” said Burford. “I personally am never interested in school leadership or anything like that, but there was a need, and I was asked.”

Despite the intense requirements of her new position, she takes the job with pride and grace. 

“I’m excited for the opportunity to learn and sharpen some of my other skills that I don’t really get to utilize often, and I’m excited to help serve my department.”