“Teamwork for All” is the new standard set for Burlingame High School’s administrative leaders according to new Principal Paul Belzer. In the midst of Di Yim’s sudden resignation, students were left to wonder what the future would hold for the school faculty. As the news circulated in school halls, Superintendent Kevin Skelly had already expressed his approval for Belzer, and eventually, the Board of Trustees appointed Mills High School’s sitting principal to BHS.
The new principal officially assumed his position as head of the administration on July 1st and completed the first item on his agenda: meeting with the Associated Student Body Council.
ASB President Johnny Kershner, who has worked closely with the administration throughout his high school experience, can confirm that the new principal is continuing a long career in education by reaching out to students and bolstering existing efforts to improve student morale and work with the rest of the faculty. Even though he is not well-known among the school’s increasing population, Kershner believes Belzer is simply “getting used to the school,” and will have a more significant presence over time.
For twenty-six years, Paul Belzer has been expanding and exploring an accomplished career in education. Beginning in Bakersfield as an English teacher and soccer coach, he found himself relocating to the Bay Area in 2002 when he became Capuchino High’s assistant principal. He then transferred to Mills High School, where he began a ten-year relationship with an increasingly spirited faculty and student body.
Senior Serena Nash, who attended Mills High School for a semester during Belzer’s administration, believes that his role there transcended basic management of the school and made the faculty a positive influence and that this had an impact on the overall spirit at Mills.
“They had so much spirit,” Nash said of the administration.
“They made it really difficult to be upset to be going there because everyone was really welcoming… I think it’s good that he’s here because hopefully, he can bring some of that spirit to BHS.”
Of BHS’s unspirited reputation, Belzer says that the best way to put these perceptions behind us is to take it step by step. He doesn’t believe that the perceptions are entirely accurate. Although BHS is known for lackluster responses to rallies and underwhelming reactions to spirit activities, there is no shortage of enthusiasm for other extracurriculars like Robotics or Model UN, or classes like Art of Video, taught by Steve Erle.
“Students love the class and are really invested in the end of the year Film Festival. It’s not a traditional kind of spirit, but it’s there,” Belzer said.
He also knocks down assumptions that BHS is inherently indifferent to school spirit, stating that “Mills was the same way. We just need to focus on the good things and keep things positive.”
“He’s a super friendly guy… and he takes the time to listen to us,” Kershner said of Principal Belzer, who has been open with explaining his goals for the school. It is already clear through his open door policy that Belzer is an interactive figure in the lives of BHS students.
According to Kershner, the only significant change has been among the staff, but his influence will extend beyond student council members in no time.
While the student body may not be familiar with Principal Belzer now, he has a promising start, and it won’t be long before he makes positive strides to make himself known among the entirety of the students at BHS.