Burchfield Inspires Children With Her Own Journey
Kellie Burchfield still remembers the day in May 2014 when she graduated from Texas A&M University Commerce with her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.
“It was amazing,” Burchfield said. “I was the first one in my family to earn a four year degree. My children were old enough to see mom walk across the stage.”
Her three children, Colton, Lexie and Brayden were there, along with her parents, Barbara and Bob Bloodgood. The children were young, but they still remember that day in the small East Texas town.
“She’s a single mom, so she really had to work for it,” said Lexie, now 18 and a freshman at Blinn College in Brenham. “It was really inspiring. She had two jobs, she was going to school. I remember taking pictures with her at the college graduation and her being really excited about graduating.”
Burchfield’s son, Colton, 21, said even with a full plate of work responsibilities and classes, Burchfield always put her children first. Colton works in Colorado and is considering becoming an electrician.
“She always made it like we were the important ones,” Colton said. “She’s the reason I have the drive and work hard at everything I do.”
Burchfield’s college graduation was one of the first steps in a journey that has led Burchfield – a single mother of three children – to becoming the 2022-2023 Cedar Hill ISD Secondary Teacher of the Year. Burchfield earned a Campus Teacher of the Year Honor for the second time in three years. She also became the first CHISD Educator since JoLynn Maddox to win Campus Teacher of the Year at both the elementary and secondary levels.
While she was taking evening classes, Burchfield’s parents would babysit her children. Burchfield would study and complete homework after the kids went to sleep.
“Without my parents, there are times I wouldn’t make it,” Burchfield said.
Barbara Bloodgood is not surprised by her daughter’s success.
“She’s very determined, and she was going to get her degree one way or the other,” Bloodgood said. “I think she’s a great teacher, and I’m just glad that Cedar Hill ISD recognizes it as well.”
In addition to her accolades in Cedar Hill ISD, Burchfield also inspired her mother – who worked in the banking industry – to become an educator. Bloodgood is a paraprofessional in Sulphur Springs ISD, in East Texas.
Burchfield was 12 years old when she moved from her hometown of San Antonio to Midlothian, when the Ellis County community had just 5,000 citizens.
It was a bit of shock for Burchfield. She became interested in Nursing and even participated in a program in the late 1990s where she took some nursing classes through Navarro College in Waxahachie.
Burchfield enrolled at Navarro College in the fall of 1998, but she decided to put her education on hold.
After Colton and Lexie were born, Burchfield figured it was time to pursue nursing again. She took a job as a substitute teacher to help raise her family, while paying college tuition.
That ended up being a gamechanger. She absolutely loved being a substitute teacher – everything from the “light bulb, a-ha moments” to connecting with the scholars and helping them pursue their hopes and dreams. She had an experience as a long term substitute, and that only proved to increase her determination to become an educator.
Still, there was an internal struggle. How, as a single mother of three, could she pass up nursing and the higher salary that goes along with it?
There was a time when Burchfield had to choose between attending her nursing classes and being in the classroom as a substitute. That was a sign.
“I thought, ‘wow, God is really talking to you, Kellie. Why aren’t you listening? Nursing is not where you need to be,” Burchfield said.
There have been times when Burchfield second guesses that decision, but those doubts, she said, evaporate, every time she walks into her classroom.
Burchfield said she was always a “math person”, and she credits former CHISD Collegiate Pathway Chancellor Heath Koenig with telling her that Science was the right path when Prep opened in the summer of 2015.
“Mr. Koenig saw something in me that I didn’t know existed,” Burchfield said.
That is where Collegiate Prep had an opening, and it has proven to be the perfect fit for Burchfield, who’s science class was featured on NBC 5’s Carter In The Classroom in 2021.
“I recognized that she would be a great teacher, but she has exceeded even what I could see when I first interviewed her,” said Koenig, who’s now CHISD’s Executive Director of Elementary Schools. “Her passion shows through every day in all that she does. She is a team player and builds solid relationships with scholars, parents, colleagues and administration.”
Burchfield said one of the most emotional moments happened when her daughter, Lexie, wrote a college essay about the person who impacted her the most. She chose mom, who was the President of her high school’s Dance Team Booster Club.
“Sometimes, you wonder if your kids understand what you do for them? I just bawled when I read that essay,” Burchfield said. “I couldn’t do it without God. I put my faith in God, and things will happen and turn out the way He wants it to turn out.”