April Mathis and Denise Little both work at the front desk at Burke, letting people inside and greeting them on behalf of Burke. Mathis, who works mornings, is the first person students see when they come to Burke and Little is the last person they see when leaving the school in the afternoon.
April Mathis discovered Burke thirteen years ago through a parent after expressing an interest in working at a school again. Previously, Mathis had worked at a non-profit organization called KaBOOM! where she helped build playgrounds for children.
“I wanted to work back in a school,” said Mathis. “I have worked at a school before and I really enjoyed it.”
Mathis describes being at Burke as a new experience, especially compared to her own high school.
“Burke was different. It was different,” she explained. “It was kind of a culture shock but it didn’t take me long to get into the swing of things.”
However, she quickly formed relationships with many of the faculty, students, and parents at Burke.
“I learn more about [the school] and I see the kids who have done well and succeeded,” said Mathis. “My first graduating class was 2008 and I’m still in touch with those kids and they are young adults now.”
When Mathis is not at Burke, she spends her time with her sorority and volunteering at various organizations. She also has a passion for ice skating.
Denise Little started at Burke 5 years ago at Mathis’s suggestion. Little had retired a few years previously but was looking for something to fill the time.
“April and I are neighbors, and when I told her I was bored with retirement and wanted to find a part-time job, she told me that Burke was looking for an afternoon receptionist,” Little said.
Little grew up in DC and worked at an organization called Veterans and Fears before Burke. Little liked the environment of Burke when she first arrived.
“I loved the school and the diversity and unity of it,” said Little. “I really liked seeing the way the students interact with each other. Each year I feel like the students are looking younger.”
Little values the relationships she has formed with students and teachers, and she loves getting to talk to Burke people everyday.
“In the five years I’ve been here, I have only missed two days of work because that’s how much I love the job,” she said.
Little has three kids, and when she’s not working, she spends most of her time helping out the people in her family or working at her Church as a missionary.
Both Little and Mathis spend a large part of their day simply helping with the operation of Burke or interacting with Burke people, whether that be students, staff, or parents.
“I always see myself as working for everyone,” said Mathis. “I work for the parents, the students, the faculty, and the staff because everything comes through the front. Everything. That’s the way I view my job.”