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 Getting to Know SDCOE: Program Specialist Connects Students to Nature

Dustin Burns’ job title may be lead outdoor education program specialist, but a more accurate — and shorter — label is camp ambassador.

Burns has been part of SDCOE’s Outdoor Education team for more than 21 years, and he is most often the first contact for parents, students, and teachers headed to 6th Grade Camp at Cuyamaca Outdoor School. With every camp presentation he delivers at schools — more than 120 a year! — he creates a lasting connection with people, Outdoor Education
Executive Director Bob Mueller said.

“His presentations are an expertly delivered mix of information, humor, and camp-style fun,” Mueller said, adding that Burns’ professionalism and sensitivity put parents and students at ease.

Burns’ commitment to outdoor education is an extension of his commitment to children and education. He believes that when children experience something as transformative as a week connecting with nature, they discover they are smarter and more capable than they ever imagined.

He brings this commitment to his role as a trustee on the Santee School Board, where he has served for 16 years and is a champion for mental health services and safety. His commitment to the well-being of children is evident through his service on district committees, including the Character Education and School Climate group.