A week after saying goodbye to 566 graduating seniors, Burbank High School principal Michael Bertram is having his own graduation, of sorts.
After completing his sixth year as the school’s principal on May 24, Bertram emailed a message to parents Friday morning announcing he is stepping away.
“Being the principal at Burbank High School has been such a blessing,” Bertram said in the email. “It is a rewarding job, however, it is also tough at times. I have had a rough year personally, and I feel that it is time for me to step down from my position as principal and refocus on my health and my family.”
When asked about his health, Bertram noted the current state of education had caused him strain.
“Education has changed so much and the challenges put on all of us educators,” Bertram said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “I see it with my teachers and all of my staff and everybody. It’s getting more and more challenging.”
He added, “I’m not one to run away, and that’s not what I’m doing, but my health is taking its toll.”
Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill acknowledged the decision “caught him off guard,” he said.
“Mike has done amazing work at Burbank High School,” Hill said. “We received our highest rating for a [Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges] accreditation and he has done an excellent job. I wish him and the family well.”
Burbank Unified did not issue an official statement.
“It’s a personal decision for him, and we’re not going to put out a release,” Hill said.
District personnel, however, listed the position on Edjoin.org.
“It’s a very difficult decision, and I talked a lot with my family and decided this was the best thing to do,” Bertram said during the phone interview.
“I will miss Burbank High School tremendously, and it’s the people. I got close to a lot of people and developed many relationships that I will keep forever,” he added.
Bertram was an associate principal at Glendale High School before being hired as principal at Burbank High before the start of the 2013-14 school year.
Bertram had previously worked as an assistant principal with Burbank Unified from 2001 to 2008.
Although Bertram doesn’t have immediate plans for his future, he said he’s not retiring.
“I know that I love what I do, and I know that’s in my future,” Bertram said. “When it comes to this business, I’m not exactly sure what that looks like.”