Mrs. Burkhalter or "Ms. Elsie" as she is fondly called received her Masters of Education
degree in Education and Social Sciences from Southeastern in 1976. She also received
her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Southern University in Baton Rouge.
She is a lifelong resident of St. Tammany Parish where she has served as President
of the St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees since the union received
its charter in 1979. She is also a vice president of the Louisiana Federation of Teachers
and is a member of the AFT Teachers program and policy council. Her tireless work
on behalf of this organization has earned her recognition for Outstanding Leadership,
Legislative Leadership and Outstanding Achievement in the Production of Newsletters.
Additionally, Mrs. Burkhalter received the "Extra Mile Award" from the St. Tammany
Parish School for her leadership in the parish following Hurricane Katrina. She is
in demand as a workshop presenter and speaker for many organizations in the fields
of education and politics. She was also chosen by New Orleans Magazine as one of their "50 People to Watch."
Mrs. Burkhalter has been active in local politics, serving on the Slidell City Council
from 2002 to 2006, where she held the positions of vice President and president.
She has been involved in national politics, serving as a delegate to the Democratic
National Convention for the past six conventions. She represented the American Federation
of Teachers on President Clinton's Focus Group fro education. She is a member of the
Louisiana Center of Women and Government and the Workforce Investment Board.
She also served Southeastern Louisiana University and its sister schools in a very
special role as Chair of the University of Louisiana System's Board of Supervisors.
She served two terms in this position and is the first female and the first African-American
to lead the board of the state's largest university system. When Ms. Elsie was re-elected
as chairman she commented, "...education is my passion," and that is truly evidenced
in her commitment to teachers and students all across Louisiana.
She has indeed been a friend to Southeastern and continues to be an advocate for education.