Superintendent of Schools Dr. Eric Conti has an ironic message above his office door. Taken from the epic poem, The Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, a small piece of white paper plainly reads: “All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” The troublesome message is an inside joke to Dr. Conti, as “hope” is the main ideal he has for Burlington's student body.
“My main job is trying to foster the high level of student achievement we have at Burlington Public Schools and continue this tradition moving forward,” Dr. Conti said.
During his 3 years as BPS Superintendent, Dr. Conti's main thanks go towards the wonderful teachers and administrators he recognizes as the main pistons behind Burlington's educational engine.
“It begins and ends with the teachers, they are outstanding,” stated Dr. Conti.
Dr. Conti originally hails from Arlington, and got the “Dr.” (although he prefers Eric) through the University of Wisconsin's Educational Policy and Leadership Program. To prepare him for the job as Burlington's Superintendent, Dr. Conti taught and held administrative positions in Rhode Island and Virginia.
One of Dr. Conti's main concerns with BPS is that they continue to evolve with the new century and that students are prepared for the future. This is one of the reasons that Dr. Conti is on-board with an initiative to implement the use of Apple iPads as quick reference instruments at Burlington High.
“Burlington is a place that focuses on building 21st century skills and preparing kids for the modern world [...] We have to stay aware of our global community and, above all, stay relevant concerning what and how we teach our children,” explained Dr. Conti.
Aside from making Burlington students proper, “digital citizens,” Dr. Conti is also very proud of the fact that Burlington doesn't require fees dealing with arts, sports or transportation.
“We don't want to limit a child's opportunities. School, especially high school, is a time of exploration, making friends and connections,” explained Dr. Conti. “Kids involved with after school programs are less likely to find trouble and more likely to be successful. We don't want to stop a kid's interests because of money.”
When asked about what he fears moving forward concerning Burlington's school system, Dr. Conti was firm on the matter: complacency.
“I try and actually provide a sense of urgency to parents and different town groups,” said Dr. Conti. “It's my job to continue to push student achievement and opportunities and find more for us to do."
When not helping to further Burlington's youth through education, Dr. Conti vacations at his small farm in rural Virginia, or enjoys the beach and fishing.
Dr. Conti's hard work on his farm equates to the lessons he institutes throughout BPS: “It's exciting and daunting to be a learner, but that's what we need to be to be successful and create more opportunities for our kids, we all need to be learners.”