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New teacher brings decades of
experience to Charter School

Special to The Red Rock Review

Joette BurkeSedona Charter School students and staff are so happy with the school and its new, custom-built campus on Kachina Drive that there has been very little turnover recently. All of the teaching staff in grades one through six are returning next year. As for middle school (grades seven and eight), students and staff are thrilled to be welcoming a new head teacher for that age group, Joette Burke.

Burke comes to the school with a dynamic combination of enthusiasm, creativity, and 36 years of experience. Although she taught grades ranging from fourth through 12th during her 25-year teaching career, she particularly enjoys middle school. The range of subjects she has taught includes honors English, gifted science, physical education, jazz dance, and the full Upper Elementary Montessori curriculum. In addition to teaching,  Burke has served as principal and assistant principal at private and public schools in Phoenix and Dallas, Texas.

At national and regional educators’ conferences, Burke has received high ratings for her presentations on subjects such as how to develop a Montessori middle school, classroom management, and how to plan and implement effective overnight field trips. She also co-authored a book on how to effectively teach creative writing. During her tenure as assistant principal at Harry Stone Montessori Academy in Dallas, she was in charge of training other teachers on Montessori philosophy.

Burke holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Texas Woman’s University, a Master of Science degree in educational administration from Nova University in Florida, and she participated in Gifted/Talented education training programs at Baylor University in Texas. She has a Montessori teaching certification from the American Montessori Society for ages six to 12, and is Arizona state-certified to teach grades seven through 12.

Burke looks forward to creating a model Montessori Middle School at Sedona Charter School, and implementing the philosophy of education she has developed over the years.

“My role in the classroom is subtle; it is multi-faceted, and my presence is widely felt,” said Burke. “I aid in the development of character and simultaneously ensure that the child’s thirst for knowledge and passion for learning does not fade. I maintain an environment that is not only alive with intellectual curiosity, but also clean and orderly; one that permits concentration.

“I am impartial and reach out to find points of empathy with all of my students. I encourage all of my students and find ways to provide equal attention with positive language and a sense of personal responsibility. When I show my students that I care about them, they return my interest with interest. I teach by example; I am intent upon showing rather than just telling. This enhances academic recall and deepens the understanding of real life.”

You can see why those folks are excited.

She continued, “I hope and expect that the student would be able to perfect himself through his own powers and go forward guided by that inner force, which distinguishes him as an individual, free to make independent discoveries and to become self-directed.”

For more information on Sedona Charter School’s tuition-free Montessori program for students in grades K through 8, contact the school office at 204-6464 or visit its Web site (

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