Educators Make a Difference Fund
In 2005, the Parkway Alumni Association launched the Educators Make-A-Difference Fund in honor of Dr. Al Burr, principal of Central and then West high schools. This fund supports the Albert Awards, a recognition presented annually to three outstanding Parkway teachers who are in the first five years of their career. The fund also provides a monetary award for Parkway’s elementary, middle and high-school Teachers of the Year.
Burr was known to thousands of former Parkway students and staff members as an inspirational and achievement-oriented principal, teacher and coach. He dedicated his career to academic excellence and high standards of living and learning. He was an educator who loved kids and had unlimited respect for them. Every year, he learned the names of all incoming freshmen attending his school using flashcards he made himself. This was an accomplishment few other school administrators have had the tenacity to achieve-- his schools often had more than 2,300 students enrolled.
He came to Parkway from Bonne Terre, Mo., in 1957 to teach mathematics at Parkway's original junior-senior high school. He later served as principal at two Parkway high schools--Central and West--before retiring from the district in 1981. During his Parkway career, he served as national chairman of the National Honor Society, as a member of the board of directors of the National Merit Scholarship Program, and chaired 19 North Central Association evaluation teams. He was president of both the Missouri State High School Activities Association and the National Federation of State High School Activities. He received the highest awards presented by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals and the Missouri State Department of Education: the Robert Howe Award and the Missouri Pioneer in Education Award, respectively.
In retirement, Burr conducted educational and leadership seminars and was keynote speaker at conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Bermuda and the Virgin Islands. He also was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in July 2000.
Burr passed away on Sept. 25, 2016, at the age of 85, in Hebron, Kentucky, where he lived with his wife and former Parkway educator, Dr. Katy Burr.
"It is said that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The same is true for teaching and mentoring young people. Dr. Burr planted many, many trees during his career and we are thankful for it." -H. Ward Silver [West '73]