Dr. Kristi Burns, District 2
Kristi Burns, a graduate of Eustis High School, holds a Doctorate in Chemistry/Biochemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a mother to four children, ages 10, 6, and 4 year-old twins. During doctoral studies, Dr. Burns taught college level chemistry courses. She graduated from Eustis High in 1995 with honors, as salutatorian of her class. She then completed a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1999 at Tufts University in Massachusetts. Dr. Burns worked at the Dupont Corporation in business, research and development, where she was a scientist that communicated closely with sales, marketing, clients, and the U.S. military. She brings this unique mix of academic, educational, and business experience to the Lake County School Board.
After returning to Lake County, Dr. Burns saw that many children were not getting recess in the Lake County elementary schools. Even five and six year-old children had no recess. She helped lead a group of parents, educators, and concerned citizens to demand that this problem be solved.
Her dedicated team demonstrated that recess is not frivolous time away from academics. It teaches cooperation, creativity, negotiation, sharing, and many other soft-skills that are necessary when children are grown. The sort of skills that companies say can not be taught are learned during recess.
With her support and guidance, the community won this important issue. Children in Lake County Schools are now entitled to 60 minutes per week of recess.
Dr. Burns has continued with her efforts and is now working on a state-wide recess bill to give every child in Florida the 20 minutes per day of recess.
As America competes in the global economy, business and education experts concur that recess is a critical part of a child’s early development. This critically important attention to the whole child is a focus that Dr. Burns brings to the school board.
Another serious problem in the schools that Dr. Burns is tackling head on is the overuse and misuse of high-stakes standardized testing.
Leading a group of parents, business people, and educators, she founded Test Watch – to advocate for the fair use of tests and assessments, which are appropriate for the child’s age.
These tests should be created, examined, and evaluated by the teacher – who, after all, is the person who best knows the child. Testing can be a useful tool – as long as it is used correctly. However, when children are trained and groomed for tests instead of actively taking part in their education, then tests have lost their place. When schools become testing centers, children lose the chance to earn a well-rounded education. Their hard work is wasted.
Children need social studies, science, art, recess, electives, and vocational studies, to become the well-rounded citizens that will build our communities.
Dr. Burns has been developing a deep understanding of education since childhood. Her parents were both educators and her mother is still a first grade reading teacher, after 40 years. Her father, a former teacher, is now a small businessman.
She is married to Mark Carlson, the eldest son of Dr. E. Thomas Carlson a pediatrician who has been practicing in Lake since the seventies and his mother Gail Carlson a Pediatric ARNP. She has one sister, a professional modern dancer, and one brother, an ex-college baseball player, now owner of a small business.