Staff Spotlight: Mr. Burkhead


Mr. Burkhead poses with confidence. Courtesy of Alexandra Rumford.

Alexandra Rumford, News Editor

Daniel Burkhead, a “forty-something” year old English teacher, has been working at Wilcox for eight years and been the yearbook advisor for three. He pioneered the yearbook after Ms. DeLuca’s retirement, producing a quality yearbook despite COVID-induced challenges and a lack of in-person activities. Before becoming a teacher, Burkhead went to De Anza College and UC Santa Barbara, double-majoring in business economics and comparative religions. When asked if he had any advice for seniors about to graduate, Burkhead advised them to “slow down [and] don’t be afraid to course correct,” elaborating that “nothing is set in stone, and above all be happy.” 

As a teacher, Burkhead describes his style as “educational, effective, and engaging”, stating that he “loves” teaching. His favorite class is his English 10 class, but he also enjoys working with students to create the yearbook during the day. Sophomores Emily Anderson and Heidi Vierra chimed in regarding Burkhead’s teaching style, stating that “Mr. Burkhead slays”, and that he’s “very supportive and teaches me how to be a baddie.” Other students agreed, including sophomore Evelynn Phy, who said that “Mr. Burkhead is a really good teacher, and he teaches us English which is fun.” Mr. Burkhead is also a very fair and equitable teacher. Instead of giving late students detention slips, he instead allowed them to do 10 pushups in lieu of the detention. He also is a big fan of “brain breaks”, where students can relax and have a little bit of down time in their very busy days. Sometimes, students go on walks around the school campus to enjoy the fresh air and take a break from writing essays.

When asked if he had any advice for students, Burkhead responded that the “biggest challenge” he sees regularly is students struggling to “write essays that have quality evidence.” He advises students to start with support paragraphs and then write the introduction paragraph, as it strengthens the quality of the writing and editing. Burkhead even demonstrates how to write said essays in class, guaranteeing the success of his students and helping them learn by example. As an English teacher, Burkhead works hard to provide a quality education for his students and make classes fun and engaging. 

In his free time, Burkhead likes to play and watch soccer, read fast-paced novels (such as the Da Vinci Code), and do sports. He’s currently attempting to wear a different soccer jersey each day to school as a challenge for a year. Burkhead is definitely a cat person. He is currently the proud father to four cats, including Gunner, Amers and Sofa, and Link the American lynx. According to TA Angie Montoya Gonzalez, “I could totally tell that Mr. Burkhead was a cat person, he just looks like he would own cats.” When he listens to music, Burkhead prefers heavy metal and rock, including bands like Metallica, Pink Floyd, and Van Halen.  His dream vacation would be to travel across Italy on a motorcycle and visit all the old cathedrals and architectural marvels down the coast of Santorino. Locally, Burkhead’s favorite haunt is Kabob & Curry in Santa Clara, where he orders the chicken tikka masala and enjoys a lovely meal. He’s also partial to spearmint gum from Wrigleys, but not Extra gum. Burkhead insists that Extra gum is the worst brand of gum and exclusively chews Wrigley’s. 

 To Mr. Burkhead, Wilcox High School is more than just a workplace. He claims that Wilcox is his family, and being able to help students and be a part of this community is something special to him. According to Mr. Jackson, a fellow English teacher, “Mr. Burkhead is a wonderful addition to the Wilcox English department, and also a good friend. Our shared passion for soccer has led to many shared conversations about whose team is better, Arsenal or Man City.” Clearly, Burkhead has made an impact on many people throughout his years here at Wilcox. If you happen to spot Burkhead in the halls, ask him what jersey he’s wearing.