Principal Burbank Retires


Magali Gauthier

After nine years of service to Woodside High School, Principal Diane Burbank retires at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

Diane Burbank is retiring as principal of Woodside High School, bringing her nine-year tenure to an end.

Burbank agreed to participate in an interview with The Paw Print, where she answered questions about her legacy, current situation, and future plans. We asked our most pressing question first: why retire now?

“Well, because I’m 60,” Burbank said. “That big birthday was last December.”

Burbank also said she felt sure the school was in a safe place, stating, “I feel good about getting Woodside almost to the end of the pandemic and to a full return to in-person learning.”

When asked about what she plans to do in retirement, Burbank was less certain.

“I have no idea, but I know that I can’t figure out my next stage while I’m running a high school,” Burbank said. “The easy answer is ‘travel.’ I don’t know where I’m going. I’m fully vaccinated, but I want to travel and not be restricted.”

In addition to discussing her future plans, Burbank looked back on her long-running passion for Woodside.

“[Parents] looked at my record now like, ‘Oh, yeah, she moves around a lot — is she going to leave?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m never going to the district office to die,’” Burbank recollected. “In fact, Woodside has been the place I’ve been the longest. My last [high school] was four years, and the school before that was five years. So, clearly, I loved Woodside, and I think I’ve done good work here.”

Teachers at Woodside High school agree with that sentiment, reminiscing on their encounters with Burbank.

“She is a great collaborator,” Woodside English teacher Lisa Camera said. “She’s my boss, but she has a way of approaching situations not from a place of superiority.”

Camera also noted Principal Burbank’s renowned enthusiasm.

“When she came in, she really boosted our school spirit. She wore orange and painted buildings, and the school spirit rallied from the beating we took from ‘Waiting for Superman,’” said Camera. “I mean, I’m wearing orange now.”

Burbank is famous around the school for always wearing orange and having a positive attitude. She described why she felt that is so important.

“If the principal isn’t happy to be there, why should the students or the teachers be happy to be there?” Burbank asked.

Instructional Vice-Principal Diane Mazzei had similar praise for Burbank.

“She embodies school spirit, and people can’t help but get excited about it,” Mazzei said. “From day one, she embraced the Woodside way.”

Adding to the praise, Mazzei described how Burbank impacted the school as a whole.

“When I think of Ms. Burbank, I think of when she came in [nine] years ago, [and] how she embraced the eight conditions,” Mazzei said. “She came in and really made them come alive.”

Mazzei, who is also leaving Woodside at the end of the year, told the Paw Print about her own legacy as an Instructional Vice-Principal.

“I get to work with amazing department chairs, I get to build a schedule that works for all students, and I get to hire great teachers,” Mazzei said. “I’m extremely grateful. I’ve worked with some amazing people along the way, and I feel like I made an impact on so many Wildcats. I’m grateful for that opportunity.”

While we do not know who will be Woodside’s principal next year, the words of Burbank and Mazzei are enough to inspire strong confidence in the future, no matter who fills their roles.