Welcome, Robyn Burlew

Welcome, Robyn Burlew

I am excited to join the Veritas community and to make my new home in Richmond. I have lived in three states, each one progressively more to the south. I plan to stop that trend in Richmond, as I love snow! I grew up in a tiny upstate New York town near the Finger Lakes. My parents were both teachers and committed followers of Jesus. My childhood was full of outdoor activities, music, learning–both in and out of school—and an active church family. I stayed in New York for college, majoring in Biology at Houghton College, but most of my adult years were spent in Pennsylvania—twelve years in suburban Philadelphia and seventeen in Harrisburg.

I first encountered classical Christian education while homeschooling my three young daughters. Although my K to 12 education had been in a public school, much of what I read about classical education resonated with me in its alignment with my parents’ approach to life—education is neither confined to school nor just about getting a job. Truth, beauty and goodness are worthy of pursuit, and learning should lead to flourishing as a whole person. Latin, Shurley grammar and chanting became part of our homeschool. Then I heard about a small start-up classical school that was a couple years old and located only two miles from our home—Covenant Christian Academy (CCA). We all joined CCA in 1999, my girls as students and me as a teacher.

My roles changed frequently as the school grew and added a grade level each year. Although my education and training had been as a science and math teacher, I also taught 6th grade, history and literature as needs arose. Starting in 2003 my teaching load waned incrementally while my administrative responsibilities waxed. In the intervening years, I completed a master’s degree in Integrated Curriculum and Instruction from Covenant College. My courses equipped me to lead the CCA faculty in evaluating our K to 12 academic “ramp”, ensuring that classroom activities were both mission-driven and aimed at our end goals for 12th graders. While I missed teaching, I became passionate about supporting teachers in their work, about coordinating their efforts to better serve students and about fostering a school culture of warmth and order.

I bring those passions with me to Veritas. My goals as Academic Dean are to help teachers continue towards excellence, to increase integration between grade levels and subjects, and to infuse both our content and our practices with biblical worldview. As Upper School Principal I hope to lead in a way that both students and teachers benefit from an atmosphere of warm and caring relationships within structures that provide clear and consistent expectations. I will work to preserve the spirit of cohesion and unity as the Upper School grows and spreads out on our Northside campus.

Much of the Veritas school life feels familiar to me, as Covenant shares the same goals and philosophy. What is not familiar are people’s names! I will make every effort to learn both students’ and parents’ names in the coming months. Ask any Upper School student about the “candy game”, and you will hear about my strategy for learning their names. I invite parents to introduce yourselves on campus or at athletic events—and, please, go ahead and tell me your name multiple times until I conquer it! I look forward to getting to know each of you.

I have purchased a home within walking distance of Veritas, on Moss Side Avenue quite close to Northminster Church. My youngest daughter, Alyssa, moved with me, but she will spend most of her year at Grove City College where she is a junior biology major. My oldest daughter, Emily, teaches humanities, Logic and Rhetoric at CCA. Erin, my second daughter, works as an accountant in Harrisburg. I secretly hope to entice them towards Virginia someday! My two golden retrievers are already enjoying their southern lives. We all enjoy travel, camping, hiking and kayaking and look forward to exploring Virginia in the upcoming years. My hobbies include piano, knitting and gardening.

Thanks to so many for your warm welcome already to Veritas. I hope to serve alongside families here for many years to come.

Robyn Burlew