October 17, 2008

Kim Burningham, Utah State Board Member, Receives National Honor

Kim Burningham, a member of the Utah State Board of Education, is being awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). The national award is given annually to a state board of education member in recognition of outstanding service to public education.

"Kim Burningham is an eloquent advocate for public education and an indefatigable champion for Utah's schoolchildren. His leadership, first in the legislature, and for the past decade as chairman of the Utah State Board of Education, has been instrumental in improving the state's public schools and in influencing national education policies. We honor Kim for his life-long service on behalf of young people," said Brenda Welburn, NASBE Executive Director.

Kim Burningham has been a leader in education in Utah for nearly two decades, first as an elected representative in the Utah legislature, and then as member of the Utah State Board of Education since 1998. There he has served with distinction and for an unprecedented seven years as Chairman from 2000 until last year.

As Chairman, Burningham was the leader of a legal challenge to the state's legislatively-mandated private school voucher program and was the foremost campaign advocate for the subsequent statewide voter referendum on the controversial issue.

He has been an effective reformer in improving Utah's public schools, including a focus on improving the state's teacher quality by instituting training and mentoring changes, and better coordination between the state's K-12 and higher education systems by helping to forge a partnership between the two systems that resulted in the formation of the K-16 Alliance.

Burningham was the very first NASBE New Board Member representative when that new position was created in 1998. Elected NASBE President in 2005-06, he was an articulate spokesman for the association and public education - and has continued to serve as a tremendous resource to the membership and other education leaders.

The award is being presented at NASBE's national conference in Arlington, Virginia on October 17.

NASBE, www.nasbe.org, represents America's state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking; advocate equality of access to educational opportunity; promote excellence in the education of all students; and assure responsible lay governance of education.