Beloved counselor to retire

Pauline Alterio, Photographer

By PAULINE ALTERIO, Photographer


    Doctor Jeanie Burns may be heading into retirement this year, but it certainly doesn’t mean she’s taking a break. 

    The guidance counselor is retiring next week after 24 years of driven service. She has been with the district since 1998, when she began work as a long-term substitute in the middle school before relocating to the high school as an official guidance counselor in 2003. Prior to her educational work, Dr. Burns was a keen chemistry research technician, engineering technician, and banking worker. She says she became interested in the counseling sector as her graduate school experience furthered and her children grew older. She now loves her current role.

    “Each day is different, exciting, and energized. I love seeing and meeting with students the most,” Dr. Burns said. “I adore the students, and my colleagues are fantastic to work with.”

    Dr. Burn’s colleagues have similar things to say in return. Vice Principal Mrs. Rebecca Michaels says she holds enormous respect for the integrity and spirit Dr. Burns brings to school each day.

    “In many of the situations we deal with they tend to be difficult, but she finds a way to see the good in everyone and in every situation,” Mrs. Michaels said. “Her kindness and sincerity is above all others – I try to look at things through the lens of Dr. Burns because it usually contains optimism and kindness.”

    Fellow guidance counselor Mr. Shawn Barbrow says Dr. Burns is an incredibly kind and dedicated friend. He knows he will notice her absence, and will miss her everyday warmth and passion immensely.

    “Countless nights and weekends you could find Dr. Burns here in her office or at her home doing work for students,” he said. “She would not ever publicize that, but I saw it for almost two decades. She loves this school, and I will miss her vast knowledge and friendship.”

    That optimism and kindness is what truly sets Dr. Burns apart in our schools. Each and every student who approaches her is greeted with steadfast support and compassion, and anyone who finds struggle with personal life, school, or careers will find the utmost support in her. To fellow counselor Mrs. Coby Pighetti, this conviction is what makes Dr. Burns so memorable.

    “Dr. Burns is so diligent and detail-oriented in her work, and wants to see everyone do their best and be successful,” Mrs. Pighetti said. “She welcomed me with open arms when I was the newest counselor, and she has been a wonderful mentor, colleague, and friend. I will miss her generous heart, positive attitude, and sense of optimism.”

    In retirement, Dr. Burns plans to stay just as busy as the last 24 years. She says she hopes to learn to play the piano, attend church more, and rejoin the State College Choral Society, all while spending time with her children and grandchildren. Of course, Dr. Burns says she will miss Bellefonte, especially this year’s graduating seniors, who are her seventh graduating class that she has overseen.

    “Dr. Burns helps BAHS students look into the future with certainty. She has always put the students first in her priorities and that will be greatly missed,” senior David Galchenko said.

    We think David speaks for everyone at Bellefonte. We’ll miss you Dr. Burns, thanks for believing in us all.