Karen Burnell’s passion for incorporating health and wellness into the educational experiences of Dallas ISD students has created a culture that promotes healthy lifestyles for all. Her work as Coordinated School Health specialist involves supplying information, training and equipping teachers to impart healthy habits to their students in the hope students will adopt them and carry the examples home to their families.
Burnell’s tireless efforts to spread the message of how to live healthfully recently caught the attention of the leaders of the state’s Coordinated Approach to Child Health program, CATCH. The state’s school-based health program is designed to promote physical activity, healthy food choices and abstinence from tobacco use among students.
CATCH Texas recently announced the 2014 winners of their “CATCH Champion” and “CATCH Living Legacy” Awards, naming Burnell the recipient of its Texas 2014 CATCH Living Legacy Award. Selected for the award based on “her tireless efforts to make a difference in the health of children, families and their school community,” Burnell was described as a leader who has charted a course for change, created a culture of expectations, and inspired countless others.”
Burnell first nominated Cody Faber, the athletic coordinator at Medrano Middle School, for the 2014 CATCH Champion. Later, she learned she was also being honored for her work with CATCH.
The CATCH awards were formally announced at this month’s convention of the Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.