Cave Creek Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Debbi Burdick is retiring after 12 years.
Burdick joined the district in 2004 as associate superintendent and became the interim superintendent in 2008 before she officially took the position.
“A humble thank you to the entire CCUSD community for working alongside me for the benefit of our students,” she said. “I will miss working with the incredible CCUSD staff, parents and students, but I look forward to continuing to support our schools as a shareholder in our extraordinary CCUSD community.”
Burdick earned two master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree at Western Illinois University. In 1995, she and her family moved to Arizona. She earned her doctorate degree from ASU. Throughout her career, before her superintendent position, Burdick has held teacher, principal and educational consultant positions. She was also an adjunct professor at Grand Canyon University and ASU.
She’s been an educator for 47 years.
“It is special to have the opportunity to live and work in the same community, and I have been blessed with so many deep relationships and friendships,” Burdick said. “The professionalism and skill of our educators is unprecedented, and it has been an honor to work with them.”
Burdick is a National Christa McAuliffe Fellow from the Department of Education and has received multiple awards throughout her time in school and as an educator. She earned the AZ School Administrator’s Education Doctoral Student of the Year while at ASU and was awarded the Outstanding Senior in Education at Western Illinois University. In 2017, she was the Arizona Superintendent of the Year for the National Superintendent program.
She serves as a board member for the Cave Creek Unified Educational Foundation, Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce, the AZ Musicfest Board, the Desert Foothills YMCA Advisory Board and the AASA National Superintendents Organization’s Governing Board.
Burdick’s work with the school district expanded in her time as superintendent. All schools received an A+ status while earning a top 10 ranking for high standardized testing scores. Horseshoe Trails Elementary School was also named a National Blue Ribbon School in September.
She helped establish the district’s first foundation, the Cave Creek Unified Education Foundation, in August 2008 to provide educational grants for teachers.
“It’s one of my proudest moments for our school district,” Burdick told North Valley Magazine, a sister publication to The Foothills Focus.
“It took two years to start the foundation, and since that time, we’ve raised money every year to give teachers grants.”
Another one of Burdick’s accomplishments is creating the Superintendent’s Challenge, which pushed and encouraged students to volunteer in their communities. She said she loved seeing students get excited about volunteering and helping out until it became something the students do on a regular basis.
“I’m very proud of students who went way beyond their required hours because it just became part of what they like to do,” she said.
Burdick plans to stay in Arizona during her retirement, going back and forth between her home here and in Illinois. She said she and her husband look forward to traveling and visiting with family without having to worry about meetings or appointments interrupting their time together.
“I really want to focus on my family because my family has been really gracious, especially my husband, in allowing me to do my educational work for 47 years. I’m really passionate about it,” Burdick said.
“We want to travel. We’re beach people, so we’re ready to be near the ocean.”
Burdick’s last day is December 31.