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Natelkka E. Burrell (1895-1990)


Natelkka Burrell was born February 8, 1895, in Brooklyn, New York. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University) in 1943; a master's degree in elementary education and English from Wisconsin University in 1948; and a doctorate in education and English from Teachers College, Columbia University, in 1959. Burrell gave 50 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist educational system before her final retirement in 1983.

Burrell was called to Oakwood College as dean of women in 1939. She not only revolutionized dormitory life but also challenged students to develop their talents and use them to the glory of God to help spread the gospel to all the world. Based on her research of Ellen G. White's writings about education, Burrell constructed and successfully implemented a new curriculum for teacher education.

After 22 years at Oakwood Burrell moved to Washington, D.C., in 1961 to work at the General Conference, coauthoring the basal reading series with Ethel Young. Together, they coauthored a total of 60 readers and guidebooks. She also served as a guest professor in psychology and teacher education at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan.

A prolific writer, Burrell wrote volumes of letters and articles, many of which were published in the Adventist Review and other Adventist periodicals. She published two books: God's Beloved Rebel, her autobiography, and Katrina Stands Alone, the story of her adopted daughter. In spite of serious physical problems that plagued her "from cradle to the grave," Burrell was a high achiever all of her 95 years. She died in Berrien Springs, Michigan, on February 21, 1990.

-Minneola Dixon