Proud member of the school community, advocating for ESPs

Meet 2022-23 Gloucester County ESP of the Year Cori Burton 

Cori Burton hadn’t initially set out for a career in education, but fate led her to Delsea Public Schools nearly a decade ago when she applied for a position in the main office. Initially hired as a part-time administrative assistant, she is now the principal’s administrative assistant. Along the way, she found herself in a role that she now cherishes. 

“I worked at Sony in Pitman until it shut down,” Burton recalls. “As part of the severance package, Sony paid for us to return to school if we chose. I finished my associate degree in education while caring for my son. When he turned one, I decided I wanted to get out and start working again. I worked at the mall for a year before applying to Delsea. Before I even got home from the interview, they told me I got the job.” 

Finding fulfillment in the variety of tasks that each day brings, Burton shares, “It’s a fun atmosphere working in the office. You get a bit of all the worlds—you can have fun with the kids and get to know the parents. You know all the staff and work closely with administrators. You have to wear many hats, and the phone is ringing all the time!” 

Beyond her administrative duties, Burton has immersed herself in the school community, volunteering for homecoming, prom and other events. She takes pride in meticulously planning the graduation ceremonies, ensuring that all parties involved cross their t’s and dot their i’s, and even selecting the flowers and shrubs. 

However, Burton recognized the underappreciation faced by educational support professionals (ESPs) within the district. Acting as an advocate for them, she emphasizes, “Educational support professionals run the schools—they would not function without us!” 

Recognizing her dedication, Burton’s union encouraged her to represent the administrative assistants, leveraging her understanding of their challenges to advocate effectively. Initially hesitant, Burton embraced the opportunity, finding fulfillment in attending conferences, acquiring new skills, and assuming leadership responsibilities. 

Her dedication and advocacy did not go unnoticed, as Burton was honored as the 2022-23 Gloucester County ESP of the Year. Reflecting on the recognition, she says, “It was validation. I felt reassured that my hard work has paid off. I love what I do. I always put myself out there and I’m not afraid of rejection. But I’m just so happy to be honored.”