Alumni National Awards

College of Education Award Recipients

Educational Policy and Leadership Achievement Award

Daryl D. BurnsDaryl D. Burns, Grad ’07
Milwaukee, Wis.


Daryl’s journey from disadvantaged youth to educational leader has cemented his beliefs that once you truly believe in yourself, anything is possible, and encouragement from others is key to personal success.

As principal of Vincent High School in Milwaukee, he encourages others each day, whether he is building staff’s enthusiasm for teaching and learning, or helping students connect their involvement at Vincent with their future success.

Daryl grew up in some of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods. His young mother set high standards for Daryl and his brothers to work hard and achieve in school. Daryl was a star on his high school football team, but not so much in the classroom. University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh recruited him to play football, but he struggled there academically. With the help of an instructor, he discovered he was dyslexic.

Once diagnosed, Daryl was able to learn coping strategies and completed his degree. Along the way he met his wife, Angela, and when he moved with her to her hometown of Milwaukee, he began teaching at a private school. He had found his calling in working with youth.

Daryl completed the Compton Fellows Program, which trains non-education majors to work in the Milwaukee Public Schools. He eventually hopped onto the administrative track and chose Marquette for his master’s in educational policy and leadership.

“I searched for a faith-based university and was elated to find that we had a great (one) right here in the city of Milwaukee,” Daryl says. “Many of the guiding values of Marquette coincide with the values that my mother instilled in me as a young boy.”

Now, he proudly displays his Marquette degree in his office at Vincent to help inspire students and spark conversations about academic goals and future plans. As for his own future, he hopes one day to work with aspiring educators, especially collegiate ones interested in become principals at urban schools.

Fun fact: Daryl makes time for community service through Arts at Large, which promotes equal access to arts education for all Milwaukee students, and through a local chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, whose motto is “Culture for service and service for humanity.”