Teachers may be nominated and recommended by their individual school districts, fellow educators, or former students. The nomination packets should address the nominee’s impact on students and young people in Kentucky. Page limitations are strictly adhered to by the selection committee.
Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame Inductee, 2014
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Debra Burgess began her teaching career at Murray (Ky.) High School as a Spanish and Latin teacher.
Burgess taught Spanish and Latin at Murray High School from 1980 to 2012 and French in 2012. She was an adjunct instructor from 2011 to present at Murray State University.
She received her bachelor's degree in French and a Spanish minor in 1974 and her master's degree in Spanish (major) and French (minor) from North Texas State University in 1979. Burgess earned a Teaching Certificate in Spanish and French from Murray State University in 1979. In 1985, she received a Teaching Certificate in Latin from the University of Kentucky and in 1994 she received her Rank I from Murray State University.
Her awards include Murray Kiwanis Club Teacher of the Year in 1985 and 2004, Murray State University – Kentucky Outstanding High School Teacher in 2004, Ashland Outstanding Kentucky Teacher – Top 26 finalist in 2006, and Murray Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2008. Ted Brown, a parent of a former Burgess' student, said: "Ms. Burgess pushes her students to realize their potential, never settling for just 'good enough,' and I and many other parents are very grateful that she taught our children the importance and value of always giving one's best."