Dr. Carol Burris Says She Pushes Kids To Excel: 'I've Been Very Outspoken'

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Accolades have poured in for a high school principal on Long Island who was recently award the state’s top honor.

Dr. Carol Burris was named New York State Principal of the Year.

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As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday, Burris has been the principal of the prestigious public South Side High School in Rockville Centre for 13 years.

“I really love this school,” Burris told McLogan.

Burris said she likes to push students and stir the pot.

“I’m a little bit of a hot potato these days and I’ve been very outspoken,” she told McLogan. “A lot of the work of my principalship has been in tearing down the gates.”

Burris said she answers her own phone and roams the hallways to check in directly with the students.

“When I was writing the letter, I was thinking all the stuff she has done for me throughout my years,” South Side senior McKingsley Ryan Williams told McLogan.

His letter on Burris’ behalf caught the eye of the selection committee. The 7,200-member School Administrators Association of New York State chose Burris for the distinction because of her bold ideas, McLogan reported.

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Burris said her goal is to provide every student with a challenging curriculum.

Burris mandates that every 11th grader complete the most rigorous English class offered. All students at South Side are currently passing the International Baccalaureate course.

She said expecting the most of the students and offering support calls into question the new evaluation system.

“That’s why I am so opposed to evaluating teachers by test scores,” Burris told McLogan.

U.S. News & World Report recently selected South Side as the top-ranked high school on Long Island.

“So no wonder why Dr. Burris was selected,” senior Deanna Mostowfi told McLogan.

“Dr. Burris really encourages everyone to kind of speak their mind and their own ideas,” student Michael Garcia said.

Burris said she is honored to be singled out, but added this distinction reflects the passion of the entire school.

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