Betty Seabrook Burney is the founder and Executive Director of the “I’M A STAR” Foundation which is committed to empowering and equipping youth to transform themselves into solutions-oriented leaders in their schools and respective communities.
Burney is a former Duval County School Board member who joined the Duval County School Board in November 2004 and held the distinction of serving as a two time Board Chairman (2006 and 2011) and a two-time Vice Chairman (2005 and 2010). At the end of her second term as Chairman, Duval County achieved the distinction of having all chronically low performing schools exit the state of Florida’s intervene list.
Burney serves as a consultant for the Center for Reform of School Systems where she works with School Boards and Superintendents throughout the United States to provide technical assistance on governance strategies and practices designed to impact student achievement and to narrow the academic achievement gap. In 2013, Betty was asked by management of the WCGL radio station to serve as a community service radio talk show host; The Betty Burney Empowerment Hour was a live radio talk show designed to empower the community with information.
Betty is formerly the Executive Director of The Project Reach Foundation, Inc. which helped 33 academically challenged schools by providing mentors, tutors and motivational speakers. Burney served as owner/director of Kidsville Learning Center, Inc. for 14 years where she developed a curriculum entitled ‘Smart…Intelligent and Good’ that empowered students to perform at high levels. She is a Raines High School graduate and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Northern Illinois University.
Ms. Burney is a motivational speaker and author of the nationally-recognized book, “If These Chains Could Talk” which is comprised of letters of advice from incarcerated inmates ages 13-18. She is a member of St. Paul AME Church and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Betty serves as a Board member of Communities In Schools and Inventing Futures, Inc. She is the recipient of numerous awards and commendations; most recently she was recognized by WJCT and the National Public Broadcasting System as a 2014 American Graduate Champion; she was honored by Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity with the Building Community Award (2014); and she was the most recent recipient of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Champion of Education Award. Her Foundation recently ranked 1st place in the nation for the U. S. Conference of Mayor’s Childhood Obesity Reduction award.
Betty is married to Calvin Burney, Sr. and they have two sons, Calvin, Jr. and Craig who successfully matriculated through Duval County Public Schools and currently reside in Ohio as Doctoral and MBA candidates respectively.