November 12 2019

Burlington Educator Named 2019 Administrator of the Year and Teacher of the Year by Education Non-Profit


A Burlington educator was named top of her field by a national education non-profit that has a mission of helping at-risk students. 


The Simon Youth Foundation (SYF), a national nonprofit dedicated to helping students graduate, honored Burlington High School's Jill Graham as its 2019 Administrator of the Year and Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony Saturday during its 2019 annual conference held in San Antonio, Texas, a blog post from Burlington Public School says. 


“SYF is dedicated to helping students on the verge of dropping out graduate high school,” the blog states. 


SYF partners with local public school districts to launch Simon Youth Academies, alternative classroom settings located primarily in Simon malls. The Academies offer one-on-one learning and a flexible classroom environment. Since its inception, SYF has helped nearly 20,000 students around the country graduate high school—35 percent of whom are the first in their family to graduate. In addition, SYF supports these students in their pursuit of post-secondary opportunities through its scholarship program.


Each year, SYF recognizes its educators for the impact they have made on their students, Academies and greater communities through its National Administrator and Teacher of the Year Awards.


The 2019 Administrator of the Year is Jill Graham, Director of Simon Youth Academy in Burlington. 


“Graham was nominated for the Administrator of the Year award by her peers for her deep commitment to providing the resources and opportunity for every student to earn a diploma regardless of their life circumstances,” the blog states. “Her administrative duties at Simon Youth Academy at Burlington start after she has worked a full day as a science teacher at Burlington High School. Graham’s passion for teaching and learning make her an outstanding educator. She is a true champion for her students. Most of the young people that come to the Academy were previously at serious risk of dropping out of school. Graham has created a learning environment with a mix of high expectations and caring that allows students who struggle to succeed in a traditional environment to thrive. Her colleagues often aspire to bottle the positive culture and learning environment she has created at the Simon Youth Academy at Burlington and implement it in traditional classrooms.”


Gerard Coughlin, a longtime English teacher at Simon Youth Academy in Burlington was also recognized for being nominated for teacher of the year.


Simon is the owner of the Burlington Mall.


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