Welcome from the Head of School

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Welcome, and congratulations: You have discovered a unique pre-k-8 school in the DC metro area! At Burgundy, intellectual excitement and joy in learning are not buzzwords but expectations that are realized each day and each year.

Celebrated American writer Mark Twain once said, wryly: “I never let school interfere with my education.” Burgundy’s founders a century later took that message to heart! Burgundy provides a lovely campus that inspires discovery. More important, our teachers are facilitators who engage children’s innate inquisitiveness and joy in learning. Excitement remains high year after year as we continue to nurture students' natural curiosity about the world, people and living things around them.

It all begins with the individual learner. We honor students for who they are and where they are developmentally. We respect and build on children’s lived experience, ensuring that each child feels welcome and part of a learning community, supported, engaged and challenged to grow and learn at his or her developmentally correct pace.

For these reasons, as any current Burgundy parent or student can attest, Burgundy students love to come to school each day. At our Alexandria campus, a former dairy farm, every indoor learning area opens to outdoor space and woods. Nature is our laboratory for hands-on science and an ideal setting for active learning projects, whether at the Barn, pond, or stream in Alexandria, or at our 500-acre Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies in West Virginia.

The Burgundy Family, like our campus, is a beautiful, colorful tapestry. Students, approximately one-third of diverse backgrounds, learn to celebrate both their differences and their commonalities. Our graduates, confident, articulate students who are comfortable in their own skins, thrive in a range of exceptional college preparatory high schools and universities and a range of professions.

What is the magic? It is more than our campus and diversity. Burgundy embodies the phrases learning comes alive and joy in learning. At the core of our program’s success are:

  • A challenging, engaging, integrated academic program;
  • Excellent teachers who know and love their students and their craft; and
  • A close educational collaboration between families and the school.

At Burgundy, we live, as we have for nearly 70 years, the tenets of holistic, developmental teaching and personal care. We have always taught the whole child. Many schools today avow student-centeredness and individualized instruction, diversity and multiculturalism, and environmental and global awareness as central to their missions. At Burgundy, these values were cornerstones of our school’s founding, and we continue to model them!

We invite you to visit our unique Alexandria campus to experience for yourself the magic of Burgundy!

Sincerely,

Jeff Sindler
Head of School

Read more about the Head of School

Jeff Sindler, Head of School

Jeff has served as Head of School at Burgundy since 2006. Before coming to Burgundy, Jeff served as Headmaster for 10 years of Baltimore’s St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, a innovative tuition-free and year-round middle school for boys from low-income backgrounds that provided a holistic, pre-college prep education.

Following graduation from Duke University, where he played varsity lacrosse and earned ACC Academic Honor Roll distinction, Jeff served as Alumni director, English teacher, coach, and dorm parent at his alma mater, McDonogh School (Baltimore), before serving as teacher, coach and Chief Sophomore Advisor at the Kinkaid School (Houston), where he coached a state championship and nationally ranked lacrosse team.  Between, he also taught and coached for a year in the Baltimore City Public Schools.

Jeff earned a master’s degree from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, where he was a Beth Cubeta Scholar.   He has taken coursework with the Johns Hopkins program for Educational Leadership in Independent Schools, as well as independent school leadership workshops with NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) and ISM (Independent School Management). Jeff was a founding board member of the Washington DC SEED Public Charter Boarding School, currently serves on the board of the Lowell School (a progressive school in Washington, DC), is vice president of the board of Northern Virginia's Emerging Scholars, a successful local program modeled after Upward Bound, and has consulted with several start-up schools that serve urban and at-risk students.

Jeff’s educational philosophy is grounded in the social, emotional, and spiritual wellness of children. He believes that children whose basic needs of acceptance, respect and belonging are met will be apt and enthusiastic learners. Jeff honors the individual needs of each learner and focuses on meeting students where they are socially and academically, building on their previous learning and life experiences. A great advocate of hands-on and project-based learning, Jeff sees Burgundy as a leader in progressive education and environmental science, as well as a model for the values of respect for diversity and collaboration.

Jeff and his wife, Tee, their daughters Tonasia (Burgundy ’07, Flint Hill '11, Emerson College '15) and Tatum (Burgundy ’24), and their dog Cameron live near Springfield. Jeff has two adult sons, Ed and David, who are both currently serving in the U.S. Army.  An Outward Bound alumnus and outdoor enthusiast, Jeff’s other interests include reading, creative writing, cycling and canoeing. He is researching and writing, when he has time, a cycle of historical short stories focusing on race in America.

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