Justin Burns for Virginia Beach School Board
From student leader to community leader – Justin Burns has the experience to bridge ideological divides, build consensus, strengthen our School division, and effectively advocate for our teachers and students.
Justin Burns is a proud, lifelong resident of Virginia Beach, coming from generations of family members settling in Hampton Roads. Growing up in a military family, including a great-grandfather who fought in World War II, Justin appreciates the importance of our military and the role it plays around the world. Moreover, Justin’s parents have led by example, teaching him the value of respect and dignity in work by working hard themselves since a young age.
In 2008, Justin started serving as a member of the Student Council Association as an appointed Executive Board member, where he assisted his colleagues in school and community service projects. Since then, Justin has continued to serve as student council President, Vice President, and Secretary, getting reelected twice to all three positions. Throughout his tenure, he has effectively championed students’ issues. Notably, in Justin’s eighth-grade year, he made it a priority to express the urgency for more student involvement in school and in the community, and under his leadership, he attained results: double-digit turnouts at school and community events as well as increasing the organization’s membership by 66%. Justin understood that in order for students to get involved, he had to engage students and listen to their concerns on how to make our schools better. Additionally, Justin wrote a proclamation celebrating the work of young leaders throughout the City of Virginia Beach, which was signed in May 2015 by Mayor Will Sessoms.
As Justin transitioned from middle school to high school, he was able to continue helping his community by taking on various community service projects where he was able to raise thousands of dollars with his school. Later in his freshman year, Justin established a statewide student leadership week put into place by Governor Terrence McAuliffe to raise the issue of increasing student involvement in our schools and in our communities. This success propelled him to a position in the state student government, the Virginia Student Council Association, as an Advisory Committee Member representing the second region of Virginia, which includes the entire Tidewater region. During Justin’s time in the VSCA, he has worked alongside his colleagues to draft and submit resolutions to the State Board of Education to create a new universal grading and GPA scale for schools in the Commonwealth which would help ease teacher frustration when grading, as well as help students when submitting transcripts to other colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. Justin has also worked with his colleagues to ensure that the State Board of Education resolve the issue of AP and IB testing so that students can take their tests without having to worry about a heavy cost later.
After graduating from high school, Justin has continued his advocacy for students and teachers through lobbying. In the 2018 session of the Virginia General Assembly, Justin supported legislation that promoted an increase in teacher pay, as well as additional funding for financial aid and scholarship programs that assist students attending private and public institutions of higher learning. Additionally, Justin was a member of the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Student Leadership Committee. During the 2017-2018SY Justin worked with students from across the city to raise awareness about Virginia Beach history and the value of preserving our historic resources. Justin now serves as a Commissioner on the Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission. Throughout Justin’s life, the example of his great-grandfather’s sacrifice in World War II and the strong, admirable work ethic of his parents allowed him to dream big, work hard, and fulfill his purpose.
Currently, Justin is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in biology at Virginia Wesleyan University. Upon graduating, Justin plans to continue his studies and apply to medical school.
Justin is a graduate of Bayside High School and lives in the Kempsville Community. He worships at Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Virginia Beach.
We need leaders who can deliver results. We need Justin Burns on the Virginia Beach School Board. See what community leaders are saying about Justin here.