LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jeremy Burnham

Position: Manager of ELL and Foreign Languages
School: Proviso Township High School District 209
School District: Proviso Township High School District 209
City, State: Hillside , IL

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Music that Describes Jeremy


Dr. Jeremy Burnham was nominated by his colleague, Juana Mendoza.

"I would like to nominate Dr. Burnham because he has been an inspiration and a role model to me and others," Mendoza said. "He truly cares about our students who are learning English as a second language. He fights for them and their families by seeking what they need and reaching out to whomever necessary to make sure we are working with them. Regardless of the resources we have to help our students, he works with his team and makes sure we can do everything possible to help. I hope that one day, people recognize the amount of hard work and dedication he has for our students."



Comments (31)


Tracy Quadrk Posted 1 months ago

Jeremy is approachable and initiates conversations for the greater good. Dr. Burnham is an encouraging word and a witty quip wrapped into one. Jeremy has unmatched taste in music and an appreciation for culture appreciation. He is transparent in his agenda and passionate about the progress of students and their families in becoming fully-functioning members of the English-speaking community.

Crissy Mombela Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Jeremy Burnham is highly collaborative and supportive of students, always striving for them to be their best. To accomplish this, he works with others to ensure students receive what they need. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Jeremy through the Illinois Bilingual Special Education committee and have seen him in action on several occasions presenting on supports for students who are dually identified as EL with special needs. His priority and focus are always on the students. In addition to his whole child philosophy and approach, Jeremy is great to partner with on projects. His humor and relaxed demeanor are an added bonus to his knowledge and skillset of children. Jeremy is definitely deserving of this nomination and this award.

Vicki Moran Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy is an influential and proactive advocate for bilingual special education students’. He and I have worked together as members of the Illinois Bilingual Special Education Committee, an advisory group to the Illinois State Board of Education. We have presented at conferences to help administrators and educators fine tune their craft and skill set regarding bilingual special education. Jeremy is a wealth of knowledge in regards to the education system as a whole and is extremely fun to work with. He has a talent of making people laugh, listen and respond. This balance of humor and expertise definitely has a positive influence on every teacher, administrator, parent and/or community member Jeremy works with.

Melissa Olsen Posted 2 months ago

I worked with Jeremy in his last position as Assistant Principal at Northtown Academy and not only did he always want and strive for what was best for our students but he coached me, a math teacher, to be the best for my students. He was one of my biggest cheerleaders, always popping into my classroom to see what was going on and interacting with students face to face, not from the front office. He always pushed me to try new things and always ran with my ideas around improving our school’s culture and school pride. I miss working with him. I can’t think of someone more deserving.

Kathy Kreiling Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy is all about what is best for the kids

Lydia Kvinta Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy is always thinking ahead when it comes to providing best services to his students. He uses his extensive knowledge to consider all options and he chooses the one that will benefit students the most. He is also a valuable resource to colleagues, teachers, and other directors who need assistance. Regardless of how busy Jeremy is, when asked for help or advice, he always finds time to respond. I truly appreciate Jeremy's expertise and his dedication.

Araceli M Avila Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Jeremy Burnham is an advocate for students and families learning English as a second language. His empathy and drive to promote equity in learning, obtaining academic support and social emotional well-being for our students makes him an amazing leader. Dr. Burnham speaks, models, and promotes commitment to learning, commitment to learning, and a commitment to students, families, and his colleagues. It is a please to work with Dr. Burnham and support all he does for our English learning students.

Karen Hayslett Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy effectively communicates with members of the EB community at all levels. I don't know how he communicates with so many administrators, educators, and students. He's prepared and ready to step up for all members of our professional community at any time. His clarity of vision drives his daily actions and every conversation. He consistently reminds us of our vision and to "stay the course". He also reminds us to take breaks and care for ourselves. I appreciate that and hope that he heeds his own advice in regards to self-care.

Megan Schenke Posted 2 months ago

I have known Dr. Burnham for most of my life. He is an incredible person and educator. He puts students first and truly cares about what they need. He deserves this award because he is changing the lives of his students every day.

Joan Butvilas Posted 2 months ago

Dr.Burnham has been one of the first to bridge the GAP between Special Education and EL services . For many years the teachers have worked together to provide appropriate services for these learners he is the first to get co- taught classes. He is also very upbeat, a little sarcastic, and really there for staff and all students st Proviso

Sarah Hough Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham is an advocate for students. He always wants to do what is right and fair. He supports teachers and students and always offers to help. He is a true leader in our district.

Noemi Mendieta Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham has a kind heart and is always looking for ways to help. Having a student-driven colleague like him is a good asset to the district, the students, the parents, and the community.

Anna Janicki Posted 2 months ago

I have collaborated with Dr. Burnham ever since he became an outspoken and active member of the ISBE Bilingual Special Education Subcommittee. He steps up and advocates for the English language learners representing them as a member of various groups focusing on ELs. Dr. Burnham created and lead presentations at conferences and encouraged others to do the same. His knowledge, experience, and leadership are evident and commendable. His students and colleagues are lucky to have him on their team.

Ron Murabito Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy Burnham has integrity and always puts the needs of his students and staff ahead of his own comfort. If he gives his word, his actions match. Leadership is modeled through action.

Nicole Howard Posted 2 months ago

I agree with Ms. Mendoza. Dr. Burnham is a team player who goes above and beyond for the students!

Rita Brusca-Vega Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy and I have been board members for the past two years on the Illinois Bilingual Special Education Committee, an advisory group to the State Board of Education. It is clear from his actions that he is passionate about his educational beliefs and values as well as committed to student success at his high school. He consistently brings up individual examples and cases of students he knows well to make his points and illustrate to the Board the nature of the problems they face. Jeremy is a wonderful advocate for students and is constantly thinking about how to improve their school experience.

Ilija Sisarica Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham has been a wonderful leader and a great resource to our ELL department. He has been a great voice and supporter of our ELL students and our staff at Proviso Township. What makes Dr. Burnham a great leader but also a great person is not only his knowledge, but his sincerity to all. When I came to Proviso East 10 years ago, the ELL department consisted of one teacher and 3 levels. Today, we not only have more teachers and more courses available for our students, but we also a lot more resources and many thanks to Dr. Burnham as he has sought the resources and professional development. Dr. Burnham has fantastic interpersonal skills. I can't remember the last time we were in a meeting and he didn't ask what is that you need and how can I support you. I have worked with Dr. Burnham for many years at Proviso and our district and ELL departments in our district have vastly improved under his leadership. Thank you Dr. Burnham for being the voice for our ELL students and our ELL departments.

Suzy Dees Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham is a staunch advocate for both his students and all English Learners, his staff, and his colleagues across the region and the state. I have the pleasure of experiencing Mr. Burnham in a leadership role within the monthly West40 EL Directors/Leaders Network. Dr. Burnham regularly shares the plentiful tools and resources used in Proviso, invites his colleagues to work alongside him on the numerous statewide committees he serves, and recently took the lead in soliciting a collaborative partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education to create common-sense solutions to the barriers for statewide ACCESS testing currently scheduled to take place in person starting January 4, 2021. Dr. Burnham makes himself available to his colleagues to problem-solve, celebrate successes, or simply listen with an empathetic ear whenever they need and he is most definitely deserving of this award.

Michelle Gambardella Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham is a relentless advocate for all students, particularly those who are English Learners. As a part of the Illinois State Board of Education Bilingual Special Education Subcommittee, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Jeremy on a regular basis. As a member of this committee, he has shared his knowledge and made recommendations for committee recommendations. Jeremy demonstrates a true commitment to ensuring all students receive an excellent education in his district, as well as those within the state.

Rubi Y Ortiz Posted 2 months ago

I have known Jeremy a short time. However, in that time it is clear he is very passionate about his work and the community he lives in. I am new in my role as director and Jeremy is always happy to help. He is a natural leader in our community.

Antoinette Rayburn Posted 2 months ago

I couldn't be more proud of my partner and colleague Jeremy "JB" Burnham on this nomination. He is most deserving as a tireless advocate for children and families. He changes the world with each person he touches. He is a change agent and accomplished leader. Happy to have him on my team. CONGRATULATIONS!

LUcio Oquendo Posted 2 months ago

He has been an incredible support in the Bilingual program. I enjoy working under his leadership and he was one of the seven who hired me. He then gave me his business card and kept tabs on me to make sure I would not lose interest in the Proviso school district. He is always cheerful and makes funny comments. He brings a positive atmosphere that makes me want to serve him and support him. Thank you for your positive thoughts, smiling face, and cheerful heart.

Sandra Gonzalez-Adamski Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy Burnham is a wonderful advocate for educational equity. He is friendly, kind, and always keeps the conversation interesting.

Francela Lopez Posted 2 months ago

It is an honor to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Burnham in different committees to promote an equitable and comprehensive education for English Learners. A true educational advocate for students and families.

Alison Callaghan Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham brings so much joy to our district. He goes above and beyond for our kids and their families, and I am proud to work with him.

Cynthia Wagner Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham is an active member of our area EL Director's Network, sharing his knowledge and expertise with colleagues. Working together we can make a positive impact in the lives of our students and families. Dr. Burnham demonstrates this perspective though his actions and willingness to collaborate. This recognition is well deserved! Congratulations and best wishes!

Joanne Klonowski Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Burnham's coaching sessions focus on the here and now. What challenges am I facing with my EL students? What successes am I seeing? Dr, Burnham shares his experiences and tools so I can develop my own strategies in my classroom, tailoring them to my students' needs. He also encourages staff to complete their EL endorsement and has arranged for PD sessions with outside experts. He him roar!

Lisa Baran Janco Posted 2 months ago

Jeremy's knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm are unmatched. He is a great advocate and support in our field and for our students.

Catherine Bojalad-Baginski Posted 2 months ago

Dr. Jeremy Burnham is a deeply caring and extremely supportive leader. It has been a pleasure working with him.

Veronica Rundell Posted 2 months ago

Recognizing the need for EL-trained teachers, Dr. Burnham fought hard to get a program at our school district to train teachers in evidence-based and state-certified techniques in teaching Emergent Bilingual students. More than two dozen teachers at three high schools have been state certified in the two years since this program was started. This means that these students have content-area high school teachers that can now meet them at their level, and provide far better and culturally-sensitive instruction to these students. He has made it his mission to reach out to students and teachers alike to bridge the gaps that emergent bilingual students often face. He is a constant encourager, and works to solve problems with compassion and humor. I'm grateful to have his leadership.

Janet Konstant Posted 2 months ago

Is now and will always be an amazing advocate for students!!