Al Burr arrived in St. Louis County in 1957 to teach mathematics and help open Parkway's first secondary school, Parkway Jr./Sr. High School. He became Parkway's first assistant principal, first junior high principal, first director of Parkway Adult Education and first director of the Parkway Summer School. Dr. Burr served as principal of Parkway Junior High School, Parkway High School and Parkway West High School over a twenty-year span.
Dr. Burr was named one of the 60 most exemplary principals in the United States in a study by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In 1990, he was recognized as one of the nation's 100 most outstanding school executives.
He served as national chairman of the National Honor Society, as a member of the board of directors of the National Merit Scholarship Program, and chaired 19 North Central Association evaluation teams. He was president of both the Missouri State High School Activities Association and the National Federation of State High School Activities. Dr. Burr received the highest awards presented by the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals and the Missouri State Department of Education, the Robert Howe Award and the Missouri Pioneer in Education Award, respectively. On July 8, 2000, Dr. Burr was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.
Most of all, Dr. Burr was an educator who loved kids and had unlimited respect for them. He is perhaps best characterized by the fact that for 30 years he memorized homemade flash cards that matched the names and faces of his incoming freshmen and new students so that on the first day of school, he could greet every student by name. As his schools often had over 2,300 students, this was quite an accomplishment.
Since retiring from the principalship in 1991, Dr. Burr has conducted educational and leadership seminars and keynoted conferences throughout the United States, Canada, Bermuda and the Virgin Islands.