Meet Cheri P. Burke, the new superintendent of schools

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Sarah Thrall, right, chairwoman of the Granby Board of Education, congratulates Cheri P. Burke, who was appointed superintendent of schools at a special meeting on May 9. Photo by Nicole Muller

An expectant, excited crowd gathered in the Granby Board of Education’s meeting room on the evening of May 9 to welcome the town’s new superintendent of schools, Cheri P. Burke. Burke will assume the role on July 1.

Describing Burke as “a great fit for Granby,” BOE chairwoman Sarah Thrall, who will negotiate Burke’s contract, thanked Mary Broderick of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education’s search services for her guidance in making the right choice for Granby. The board listened carefully to the many stakeholders who provided input to the selection through interviews, focus groups and an online survey, Thrall said. “We spread the net wide in our search for candidates and had an excellent pool from which to choose. Cheri Burke stood out as an exceptional candidate.”

Since 2019 Burke has served as assistant superintendent of the Glastonbury Public Schools with a focus on always asking herself what’s best for the students.

“Time after time, the answer has steered me in the right direction,” Burke wrote in her application for the position. “I am looking to lead a district where this question can continue to serve as my lodestar. The Granby superintendent position is a perfect fit.” Burke brings that philosophy to Granby, along with her extensive educational experience.

Burke grew up in Windham, the oldest of five children, and her husband Peter is from East Granby, where the couple settled to raise their family. A graduate of Wheelock College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education, Burke earned her master’s in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University and her Sixth-Year Certificate in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University. She has served as director of student learning in the Region 10 (Burlington and Harwinton) schools, as the elementary principal of R.D. Seymour School in East Granby and in administrative positions in West Hartford and Ellington.

Burke said she always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. In high school, she volunteered in a special needs classroom where she fell in love with teaching. “Every time I have stepped further from the physical classroom, I have done so to expand my reach to help more children,” she said. “I pride myself in putting students first in all decision making and empowering teachers to do the best job they can, with my guidance. I think the size of Granby schools and the supportive community will make it so I can be the type of leader that continues to be present in classrooms and learning environments across the district.”

The mother of four added that the opportunity to lead the Granby schools is a chance to “come home and put down roots near my physical home in a place where my family spends much of our time.”