Sister Karen Burke


Facilities Chair



Karen Burke, CSJ, EdD is the Coordinator of Land Initiatives for the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, NY. S. Karen has a Doctoral Degree in Instructional Leadership, St. John's University, New York (1998) and an Advanced Certificate in Campus Sustainable Innovation, University of Vermont (2015). Sister Karen Burke is a former early childhood teacher, middle school educator, and elementary school administrator. She completed her doctoral degree in Instructional Leadership at St. John’s University, New York. Karen was a professor in the Child Study Department at St. Joseph’s College and the Instructional Leadership Doctoral Program at St. John’s University prior to her role as a tenured professor in the Instructional Leadership Doctoral Program at Western Connecticut State University.

During the past 20 years, Karen has been involved with research in learning styles and instructional leadership. Her research has extended to conference presentations and professional development programs conducted in the United States and more than 25 other countries. These projects subsequently lead to more than 40 scholarly publications in educational journals and edited books. Her educational work has given her the opportunity to become deeply involved in several international volunteer efforts. These outreach projects are committed to the environmental issues and the improvement of women's social, economic, and political status.

In response to the Congregation’s Land Ethic statement, S. Karen has coordinated the efforts to implement new initiatives related to agriculture, land conservation, woodland restoration and preservation, solar energy, landscape options, and wastewater management. The Congregation’s 212-acre property contains significant natural and community resources. S. Karen is leading the collaboration with the Peconic Land Trust to protect this land that is held in sacred trust. Most importantly, 28 acres of working farms will be preserved in perpetuity with a permanent agricultural easement through the sale of development rights to Suffolk County. The farm fields that once were working farmlands are now leased to eight local farmers. S. Karen facilitates the relationships among the farmers and the collaboration with the Congregation.

S. Karen recently completed the application on behalf of the Sisters of St. Joseph and was awarded a grant from the Long Island Community Foundation Grant for $20,000 to support sustainable landscape options on the Brentwood campus. The grant enabled the creation of drought-tolerant natural areas of native grass and wildflower meadows that offer habitat for wildlife, attract insects and pollinators, and increase overall biodiversity. The grant also funded the installation of a rain garden on the property.

S. Karen also provided the necessary statistical and descriptive information for a grant that was awarded funding by Long Island Community Foundation Grant for $15,000 to partially support a wastewater management feasibility study. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the various alternatives for sewage disposal as an alternative to the on-site septic system, and provide a road map for future decisions about sewage disposal for the property.

S. Karen has conducted professional presentations in more then 45 countries. As a member of a Global Exchange delegation to Ecuador, S. Karen met with local organizations, politicians, journalists, farm workers, and native communities to dialogue about the local, regional, and global effects of corporate globalization. She travelled to the northern Amazon region to look at the damaging effects of oil and other extractive industries while experiencing the breathtaking diversity and beauty of the Amazon rainforest. She spent time living with the Kichwa indigenous people in Yasuní National Park, a UNESCO world biosphere reserve--considered to be the most biologically diverse region on the entire planet.

The Sisters of St. Joseph hosted and/or co-sponsored several environmental conferences on Long Island under the leadership of S. Karen Burke. The most recent conference include:Long Island Climate Summit (June 2017 and September 2018)LINPI and LIISMA Conference (June 2017, 2018)Sane Energy Geothermal Conference (October 2017)Audubon Society Climate Conference (October 2017)