January 6, 2016 / News

JEA names Burke 2015 Yearbook Adviser of the Year

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

Renee Burke, MJE, adviser at William R. Boone High School in Orlando, Florida, has been named the 2015 H.L. Hall Yearbook Adviser of the Year by the Journalism Education Association (JEA).

Burke was presented with the honor today by Margaret Sorrows, JEA’s 2014 Yearbook Adviser of the Year, during a surprise ceremony at Boone.

JEA, an educational organization for journalism advisers, bestows this top honor annually on a high school yearbook adviser in recognition of their work in scholastic journalism in their school and across the country throughout their career. The winners are selected by a panel of past winners and representatives of JEA, the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA), the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) and Quill and Scroll.

Burke was previously selected as a Distinguished Adviser by JEA in 2014. She serves as the yearbook and newspaper adviser at Boone, and her publications staffs have been frequent award winners. Most recently, Boone’s 2014 Legend yearbook won a CSPA Gold Crown and NSPA Pacemaker and the 2015 Legend has already been named a Crown Finalist.

Among Burke’s other honors, in 2012 she was named Orange County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and in 2011 she was the Florida Scholastic Press Association Journalism Teacher of the Year. She is a frequent teacher at national scholastic journalism conventions and workshops.

“Renee is one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever worked with,” said Missy Green, the Walsworth Yearbooks sales representative who has worked with Burke at Boone for the past 17 years. “She simply has a dedication and a passion for yearbook, the program at her school and her kids.”

Dusty Johns, the principal at Boone, congratulated Burke for the Adviser of the Year honor on behalf of the entire Boone faculty, staff and community.

“Renee Burke is the type of teacher and leader that cannot be replaced. As this recognition indicates on a global platform, she is as dynamic as they come,” said Johns. “The level of expertise, professionalism, and excellence she brings to her program is that of a collegiate and even professional level.”

JEA named two Distinguished Advisers this year: Erinn Harris of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia; and Michael Simons of Corning-Painted Post High School in Corning, New York.

Three advisers were named Special Recognition Advisers: Leslie Shipp from Johnston High School in Johnston, Iowa; Sarah Verpooten from Lake Central High School in St. John, Indiana; and Laura Zhu from Toby Johnson Middle School in Elk Grove, California.

All of the honorees will be recognized at the upcoming JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention, April 14-17 in Los Angeles.

Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is a Web Content Specialist for walsworthyearbooks.com and yearbookhelp.com, as well as a regular contributor to Idea File magazine. He's been a writer and editor for Walsworth Yearbooks for the past 13 years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.