Former Burroughs Student to Lead His Alma Matter

Photo courtesy BUSD
Matt Chambers replaces Deborah Madrigal as John Burroughs High School principal. The JBHS graduate has served as an assistant principal for the school since 2013.

The Burbank Unified School District introduced Matt Chambers as the new principal of John Burroughs High School during a virtual Board of Education meeting on Thursday.

Chambers, who has served as assistant principal of instruction at Burroughs since 2016, replaces Deborah Madrigal, who retired after nearly 40 years of working in education and was hired as JBHS principal in the fall of 2014.

“I’d like to thank our district leadership team and members of the board for giving me the opportunity to serve as the next principal of John Burroughs High School,” Chambers said during the meeting. “I’m truly honored and humbled at the opportunity to lead such a distinguished faculty and staff, such an engaged parent and community group and such a kind and thoughtful student body.”

Chambers, a Burroughs graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Cal State Northridge, masters in educational administration from National University and doctorate in educational leadership from USC. He returned to his alma mater in 2013 to teach business and finance classes in 2008 and was promoted to assistant principal of athletics and activities in 2013. Chambers then served as the assistant principal of guidance in 2015 before becoming an administrator focusing on instruction the following year.

Former Burroughs principal John Paramo, who is now the district assistant superintendent of education services, said Chambers was “instrumental” in contributing to two successful Western Association of School and Colleges accreditations, increasing requirement completion rates for graduation and successfully implementing the Academic Excellence program.

“I want to thank Dr. Chambers for stepping up, not only this year as a site leader but taking on this role is huge,” said board member Steve Ferguson. “You are an [alumnus] of this school system; you understand how big this campus is. It is one of the crown jewels of this district.”

Board Vice President Charlene Tabet remembers Chambers riding his bike across the street from her home 30 years ago as a child.

“Who knew when you were a 7, maybe 10-year-old little boy riding your bike up and down the street … that you would be principal of John Burroughs High School?” she said. “You were certainly a kind, well-behaved young lad. You’ve been raised well and you will be a wonderful principal at John Burroughs. Congratulations not just to that little boy but the man you’ve become.”

Chambers also took the time to speak directly to students who were watching Thursday’s virtual meeting.

“I just want to remind the students that John Burroughs High School is your school, and we’re here to serve you. We’re here to hear your voices, to make sure everyone is heard. We are here to make Burroughs a safe and inclusive space for all students to learn and grow and we’re going to do everything we can. We’re going to work steadfast until we meet that mark for students of all race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. I really look forward to going to work.”

BUSD HIRES TWO NEW ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS

The district also introduced two new administrators during Thursday’s meeting.

Burbank High School Principal Thomas Crowther introduced Heather Pittman as the school’s new assistant principal of curriculum and instruction. Pittman, who replaces Jacquie Day, most recently served as an assistant principal at Spring Valley High School in Las Vegas in the Clark County School District, the fifth-largest in the nation.

Pittman said she is “super excited” for the opportunity and thanked the district for the opportunity.

Principal Jennifer Meglemre welcomed Edwin Taylor to the administrative team at Dolores Huerta Middle School. Taylor, a Louisiana native who moved later moved to Texas, is a veteran of the U.S. Army and has worked as an educator and coach for more than 17 years. 

“I am looking forward to this new chapter in our family’s life. I’m looking forward to working with these middle school kids. I’m looking forward to being a part of another set of Cougars,” said Taylor, who was referring to the mascot of the BUSD middle school and the University of Houston.