From Automobiles To School Leadership: How One Man Transforms Remote Jungles Of Gariyaband

From Automobiles To School Leadership: How One Man Transforms Remote Jungles Of Gariyaband

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From Automobiles To School Leadership: How One Man Transforms

Stafford Burns, Angels Anglo Public School, Chhattisgarh

How Destiny Paved The Way To Education?

Stafford Burns’ journey into education started unexpectedly. Born into a family deeply rooted in the automobile and rental business in Jagdalpur, it seemed like his path was already set. But as Stafford recalls, “I never imagined I’d be in education. My family expected me to continue our thriving business.

However, fate had other plans. In August 1998, his father’s passing changed everything. Suddenly burdened with the family’s responsibilities, Stafford’s passion for education remained strong. Reflecting on that time, he says, “After my father passed away, I found myself thrust into a new role. It wasn’t what I planned, but my passion for education kept me going. I knew I had to honor his memory in some way.”

His journey began when he took on an administrator role at St. Xaviers School in Jagdalpur. Despite having no prior experience in education, Stafford stepped up to the challenge. “I had no clue about education, but I had to run the school when the Director left for over a year. It was tough, but it taught me a lot about school operations and management,” he remembers.

His transition from business to education highlights the power of dedication and resilience. It’s a testament to his visionary leadership and willingness to embrace new opportunities, even in the face of adversity.

Also Read: One School Principal’s Mission to Empower Tribal Children of Chhattisgarh Through Holistic Schooling

Making A Bold Vision For Gariyaband

In 2004, Stafford’s life took an unexpected turn, leading him to the underprivileged lands of Gariyaband. Here, he faced the tough reality of the education scene in the region. Undeterred by challenges, he says, “Seeing the tough situation of education in Gariyaband and hearing parents’ struggles to educate their children, I felt a strong desire to make a difference.”

His firm decision to open a school in this challenging area was met with doubt. “The Director firmly rejected the idea due to the location and said that Gariyaband is a jungle area surrounded by big forests. During those times, there was fear of Naxals and no proper roads to connect it with the cities,” he remembers.

However, Stafford went ahead, establishing Angels Anglo Public School in 2004. Starting with a small enrollment of 70 to 80 students, the school steadily grew under his steady leadership, reaching an impressive 700 students in 2023.

From Automobiles To School Leadership: How One Man Transforms Remote Jungles

Acts of Compassion Amidst Trials

Amidst the victories, Stafford and his school encountered one of their toughest challenges – the COVID-19 pandemic. While schools worldwide were forced to close, Stafford and his team ensured that education continued without interruption. He says, “COVID-19 was a big challenge for us and all schools worldwide. All schools were closed, and we had to switch to online teaching. Despite the obstacles, we made sure online classes continued.”

During this period, Stafford showed exceptional empathy, reducing school fees to ease the financial burden on parents. He continues, “Our staff stood together, showing great dedication to their students and our school.” “I’m grateful to all my staff members who understood the situation and supported the school during difficult times,” he expressed, his gratitude evident in his tone.

Championing Holistic Education

Stafford has always believed in giving students a well-rounded education. Under his guidance, Angels Anglo Public School isn’t just about academics but also nurturing students in various aspects of life. “We’ve always focused on giving students more than just textbooks,” Stafford emphasizes.

The school encourages students to explore their interests and talents, fostering both physical and intellectual growth. Stafford proudly states, “Our school competes directly with those in Raipur district, which have more resources. Despite that, many of our students get selected in prestigious schools like Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya and Prayas School.”

He further assures, “This holistic approach ensures that students not only excel academically but also develop into capable individuals ready to take on the world.”

Building Community Interaction

Stafford believes in involving the local community in Angels Anglo Public School’s educational journey. He says, “Education isn’t just the job of the school and teachers; it’s a team effort.” The school organizes yearly events under his leadership, bringing together teachers, students, parents, and the Gariyaband community. Stafford notes, “These events are opportunities for everyone to collaborate, share feedback, and strengthen the bond between the school and its supporters.”

Stafford expresses, “Almost the entire Gariyaband community participates in these annual events.” This inclusive approach creates a sense of ownership and responsibility in the community, reinforcing the school’s role in local development and progress.

Also Read: How a Career Counselor Honored His Late Wife’s Dream by Constructing a School in Chhattisgarh

Celebrating Student’s Growth

At Angels Anglo Public School, every student’s achievements are celebrated with pride and excitement. Stafford finds immense joy in acknowledging and honoring the accomplishments of the students, whether in academics or extracurriculars. “It’s incredible to see the recognition our students receive,” he shares happily.

Stafford mentions, “Last year, when the Chief Minister offered a Helicopter ride to outstanding students and state-level toppers, two former students from our school were selected by the Chhattisgarh Government.” This acknowledgment motivates students and boosts their sense of achievement and self-esteem. It demonstrates Stafford’s commitment to nurturing talent and ensuring that every student feels valued and encouraged.

A Game-Changing Partnership with Varthana

Amidst the difficulties, a groundbreaking partnership with Varthana brightened the education path at Angels Anglo Public School. Varthana’s innovative educational support brought forth many positive changes. Stafford remembers, “Varthana came to our aid when we needed it the most.”

Varthana’s tailored solutions, particularly the introduction of the K-yan Projector, transformed the school’s learning environment. Stafford explains, “We couldn’t afford projectors and computers for every class. We needed a cost-effective and portable computer setup for teaching purposes, and Varthana provided just that.”

The financial flexibility offered by Varthana ensured the smooth integration of modern educational tools at the school. Stafford adds, “We don’t even realize when the EMI dates have passed,” appreciating the hassle-free financial support.

A Ray of Hope for Gariyaband’s Future

In the face of challenges, Angels Anglo Public School remains a strong force of change for the Gariyaband community. Looking ahead, Stafford envisions a brighter future. He shares, “I plan to establish a college alongside the school, offering higher education opportunities in B.Pharm and B.Ed for rural students.” This reflects his determination to bridge the educational gap in rural India.

The story of Angels Anglo Public School is closely connected with Stafford Burns’ journey. His dedication, persistence, and vision have paved the path for a brighter future in rural education. His story reminds us of the incredible impact one person’s efforts can have on the destiny of a community.


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