From the infectious smile to the genuine care and concern for those around her to her constant flurry of activity, Anna Marie Burrell—K-12 Studio Leader and Principal-in-Charge—has a magnetic and energetic personality. Below, we try to get her to take a few minutes to just breathe and share a bit of her life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Lantern Hills—an enchanted, undulating wooded neighborhood on the border of the then-active Ft. Benjamin Harrison. So, when I think back to my childhood, I remember sneaking tools out of dad’s workshop to build “forts” with my neighborhood friends for our imaginary secret society. P.I.G.s was the name of our secret group, code for Private Investigating Girls. Can you guess what our password was? We were headquartered—along with multiple expansion sites—throughout our forested world. P.I.G.s members were serious about our work and probably had too much fun torturing my brother by taking his favorite toys so we could later find them hidden up in trees.
I guess you can say that I have always been caught up in my imagination and drawn to those who have fun dreaming up new experiences.
This is my cheer squad:
I married Tim in 1994, and we have two sons together — Sam (18) and Aaron (20). We have always been a close-knit family that loves to have fun. And I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Eddie, my labradoodle. We love dressing him up, but I am not sure if he loves it as much as we do.
What inspires you?
The arts, specifically dance. To feed my need to keep moving, my parents introduced me to ballet. I was hooked and spent every minute I could at Butler University’s Jordan Academy of Dance learning from instructors of a multitude of global and cultural backgrounds. I learned I loved creating or telling stories without the use of words through dance. I loved, and still love, the emotion of dance and the lines, rhythms, surprises, and forms that are endless only to one’s imagination. As an architect, I have realized these same elements are key to the delivery of any successful design project.
My love for dance continues today as I am starting to get involved with Kids Dance Outreach (KDO)—an organization providing children, regardless of income, with an opportunity to learn and experience the joy of dance.
What do you do in your free time?
I love to jump on the back of our motorcycle with my husband, Tim, and just ride with no agenda. It snaps me into the happiest of moods.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d love to explore Southern France, though lately I’ve been obsessing with wanting to go dog sledding in the countryside around Quebec. To be clear, my idea of dog sledding includes blankets and hot chocolate while someone else “drives” the dogs for me.
Do you keep anything special at your desk?
I’m never at my desk, instead I carry a backpack with scarves to hold my hair back. I never know when I might get whisked off on an impromptu motorcycle adventure.
So, have you guessed that P.I.G.s secret password yet? OINK!
Also learn about Sarah Hempstead, Tricia Smith, Charlie Wilson, Tom Neff, Joe Redar, Dave Jones, Patricia Brant, Liam Keesling, Sayo Adesiyakan, Ben Bain, Asia Coffee, Eric Broemel, Matt Durbin, Kevin Shelley, and Eddie Layton