Executive Director, The Newman Center

Kelley is defined by her love of music: it’s how she expresses herself, how she relaxes, how she focuses, how she prays, and most importantly how she has fun. She believes music is what connects us, and allows for young people to engage with the world around them. That is why she is passionate about Blues in the Schools: it helps students bring music into the development of American history.


Kelley has lived in Columbia nearly all her life. She is a graduate of Hickman High School and also the University of Missouri, with a degree in music education. She later got her Master’s degree from Lesley University, focusing on integrating the arts across curriculum. She continued on to be a Columbia Public Schools music teacher for six years. Kelley can sing, play piano, some guitar, and violin. She also plays a mean recorder!


Outside of music, Kelley enjoys hiking, biking, and camping with her husband and four children. She loves good coffee, good food, good books, and good company!
Kelley has been involved in Blues in the Schools Foundation since 2017.

Kelly Burns

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