Retirees: Debbie Burris


Alonzo Montgomery

Algebra 1 teacher, Debbie Burris retires after teaching at WHHS for 13 years. “Just remember the history of Walnut and what it stands for,” Burris said. “There are a lot of alumni that are so proud of this school. Be [someone] that the alumni can be proud of and say, ‘that was a really cool kid’, and just keep the heartbeat of Walnut.” Burris said.

As the school year comes to an end and students are preparing for a different journey in their lives, so are some adults. One such is current Algebra 1 teacher, Debbie Burris. 

Burris started at WHHS teaching Pre-Algebra, now known as Math 7 Accelerated. While most teachers first start in August, Burris is an exception to this. 

“I’ve been here since September of 2008 because when school started in August 2008, [administration] realized they had too many math students and lots of pre-algebra classes were overloaded,” Burris said. “It made more sense to, instead of paying all those teachers overload pay, to bring me in.”

She was offered the job by former principal Jeff Brokamp, after graduating from Xavier University.

When Burris first started teaching, she would come in at 5:30 a.m. to take advantage of the quiet environment, and have the copy machine to herself. With being part-time and having more copiers now, she usually comes in about an hour before her first bell. 

One of the biggest changes Burris remembers from her time at WHHS, is finally getting air conditioning in the building. “I remember teaching where we kept the windows open because it was so stifling [and the] outside doors were propped open,” One time she even ran to check on a teacher who she heard screaming because a squirrel had climbed into her room. 

While she will always look back and remember laughing with students and coming in early to get to the copier first, Burris looks forward to not having a schedule and having time to do all of the things she loves. 

Burris plans on visiting her grandchildren in Florida and Chicago more often. She also has a garden from which she has already harvested and cooked asparagus from. Burris and her husband love to walk through parks together and have already walked through all of the Hamilton County parks. She also hopes to spend more time in the kitchen, after discovering her love of cooking during the pandemic. 

“I never thought that I [would enjoy] cooking because I have five children. I was always trying to make five children and a husband happy but I have been enjoying finding recipes and cooking more plant-based meals. My husband is very big on vegetable gardening and we have already enjoyed asparagus from our garden.”

Burris is fond of her time at WHHS and thanks Brokamp for giving her the opportunity to work at the school. As she leaves, Burris hopes WHHS keeps up the rigor it is known for and that students keep their drive for achievement.