It seems as though Dr. Ada Puryear Burnette has taught everywhere and everyone. She began her far-reaching career as a public school teacher in North Carolina and Illinois, before moving into higher education. She served in a variety of key positions at universities in Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee before accepting a position as administrator of Florida’s early childhood, basic skills, and elementary education programs – the first African-American to hold such a position for the State of Florida since the Reconstruction period.
After five years in that position, Ada craved the excitement of teaching. She moved to Daytona Beach for a return to higher education at Bethune-Cookman College (now University), where she served as an administrator, and later to Valdosta State University.
In 2006, Ada was inducted into Florida A&M University’s Gallery of Distinction. The next year, the school’s president and other top administrators lured her out of semi-retirement to chair the Department of Educational Leadership and Human Services. She still spends her days spreading her positivity through the school and through her diverse and extensive charity work, mentorships, and social organizations.
Dr. Ada Burnette has dedicated her life and career to educational leadership, even giving three presentations at Oxford on the subject. Despite her countless professional accolades, what brings her the most joy is spending time with family, and helping to enrich the lives of others through her generous charity work and community service. She currently serves on the Tallahassee-Leon County Commission on the Status of Women & Girls and mentors students at Sealey Elementary School.
Ada’s key to a happy life is living according to the simple but effective motto, “Look at things positively.” This motto is wisdom that she applies to every aspect of her full and exciting life as an educator, volunteer, and mentor.