Ms. Burnell-Wise is currently in her 24th year of teaching and her 15th year as director of bands at Pleasure Ridge Park High School. Under her direction, the band program at PRP has flourished in membership and in performance quality. The Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band have received consistent distinguished ratings at KMEA district concert band festival since 2007. In 2011, the Wind Ensemble qualified and participated in the KMEA State Concert Band Festival, a first in PRP history. The Symphonic Band qualified for the first time in 2013. PRP was one of only three school systems to have two ensembles in state concert band festival in 2013. In addition to the success of the concert bands, the marching band is one of the finest ambassadors for PRP, performing in local venues, parades and local and regional marching band competitions. The Ridge Regiment Marching Band was a Class AA MSBA Finalist in 2019 placing 7th overall and a Class A MSBA Finalist in 2018, placing 10th overall. On December 31st, 2017, the PRP Marching Band led the parade through the Magic Kingdom in Disney World on the busiest day of the year, performing for 100,000 people. The PRP Band program was also named a Grammy Signature school in 2015. Ms. Burnell-Wise currently has over 12 graduates who are now music teachers, band directors or professional musicians.
Ms. Burnell-Wise received her Bachelor's degree in Music Education from Morehead State University in 1996 and her Master's Degree in Music Education from Murray State University in 2005. Ms. Burnell-Wise has been nominated for KMEA High School Teacher of the Year in both district 1 and district 12, was a semi-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year in 2013 and was recently named a quarter-finalist for the Grammy Music Educator of the Year Award for 2018. Debbie is an active clinician and conductor, working with students at Murray State Middle School Clinic, Jefferson County All County Bands and the Overton Performing Arts Middle School Honor Band Clinic. Ms. Burnell-Wise is also active in supervising and helping student teachers from Morehead State University and the University of Louisville. Currently, Ms. Burnell-Wise is attending Indiana University Southeast pursuing her certification in Educational Leadership. After this, she plans on pursuing her doctorate in education.
Ms. Burnell-Wise is an active member of KMEA, serving as marching band representative for District 1 and President and Band Chair for District 12. Ms. Burnell-Wise is a member of KMEA, MENC, Sigma Alpha Iota, Women Band Director's International, KEA and JCTA.
Ms. Burnell-Wise is an active musician, performing with Center Stage in various musicals with the most recent productions of The Wizard of Oz, Company and Curtains. In addition to this, Ms. Burnell-Wise performs reguarly with her cover band Brass DeVille, an all female cover band that performs a variety of music including rock, pop, Motown, dance, country and disco. Debbie has also performed with several other local groups St. John's Wort, Most Wanted, She Groove and Robbie Bartlett.