Principals



Daniel Smith oversaw the secondary students while they were housed at Central Public from 1919-­‐1922 but it was David Walsh who opened the new Burlington High School in 1922 and remained until 1928. He was followed by the significant tenure of James MacFarlane Bates that, with the exception of three years during World War II when he served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, lasted from 1928-­‐1935. James Bates stands out as a key figure in the history of the school. Commenting on his retirement, one of his Vice-­‐Principals (and future Central Principal), Donald Gentleman wrote: “Mr. Bates…had introduced the unit desk into secondary schools. If not the first school to have a Cadet Corps, it was one of the first. He introduced classes for new Canadians after the war. Central was the first secondary school to have a Home and School organization…Great emphasis had been made on all aspects of extracurricular activities. He had unlimited energy and instilled that into his students. Even in the last days of school (in 1963) he was still going up the stairs two or three steps at a time.” It should be noted that Mr. Bates lived right across from the school in the house on the southwest corner of Locust and Baldwin Streets. It was reported that he was not adverse to students knocking on his door and requesting to let them into the school if they had forgotten their books before a test or exam.




James Bates was followed by Emerson Lavender and Donald Gentleman over a period of 6 years before they were promoted to other responsibilities within the Board. Robert Sharratt came to Burlington Central from Brantford to serve as Principal from 1969 to 1983. His tenure of 14 years was the second longest among the Central Principals. During the 1980s, it became the practice to move school administrators more frequently and, between 1983 and 2017, 9 Principals brought their energy and diverse talents to the leadership position at Burlington Central: Larry Zavitz, Keith Johnson, Greg MacPherson, Ruth Peden (Central’s first female Principal), Terry Ruf (first Principal of the 7-­‐Graduation school), Tom Adams, Deb Robinson, Jonathan Shoss and Kelli Pfeiffer. Since her arrival in September 2018, current Principal Michelle Lemaire continues Central’s long tradition of strong leadership.