L&C Names New Fire Science Coordinator

Article by: Jan Dona,

GODFREY – Following the retirement of long-time Fire Science Program Coordinator Bernie Sebold, Lewis and Clark Community College looked among its ranks to name Edward Burnley to the position.

An instructor with L&C’s Workforce Education Solutions and Safety Training (WESST) program since 2016, Burnley enjoys spending time with students who have a similar passion.

“Every time I teach a course, I learn something new, either from the material itself or from the students,” Burnley said. “It is this constant development of the firefighting career field that drives me to teach.”

An Air Force veteran, he has worked in fire service since 2001, including time with the Alton Fire Department and, currently, the Edwardsville Fire Department. Since 2008, Burnley has been a member of the Madison County Hazmat team and is also is a Chief Master Sergeant with the 131st Bomb Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard, where he’s served for 19 years.

His education includes an Associate in Applied Science in Fire Science from Community College of the Air Force, Associate in Applied Science in Paramedicine from L&C, a Bachelor of Science in Safety Management with a minor in Fire Science from University of Central Missouri and a Master of Public Administration and Policy Analysis from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Burnley wants to build the program with an eye to better serving local area firefighters. Part of that includes an effort to provide more opportunities for shift workers who want to obtain a degree without the hardship of taking off work.

“We are introducing several online courses that meet the National Fire Academy’s (NFA) Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) curriculum,” he said. “It enables us to deliver course material by highly trained and educated instructors that is the basis of fire services as an overall enterprise.”

Although the program is being expanded to provide more opportunities for online students, Burnley considers himself a traditional instructor.

“I enjoy getting dirty with hands-on equipment because I feel that is the best way to learn,” he said. “I am the first person to admit that I don’t know it all, so I’m not afraid to say ‘I don’t know, but I will get you an answer.”

Among Burnley’s accolades are Edwardsville Firefighter of the Year (2007), 231st Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year (2016), Air Education and Training Command Top Graduate (2015), 387th Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Month (2012), 376th Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter (2006), University of Central Missouri Cum Laude Graduate (2005), University of Central Missouri Achievement Award (2005), Degree of Chevalier—DeMolay (2000) and Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout (1999).

Burnley considers being named as L&C’s Fire Science Program Coordinator among his proudest achievements. He also described a recent situation where his involvement with the Edwardsville Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team.

“About a month ago, we were called for an intoxicated, suicidal subject on top of a water tower,” he said. “We deployed our team and were able to successfully retrieve the individual without incident. It was a culmination of a lot of hard work and coordination. A proud moment for sure.”

Burnley has high aspirations for the L&C Fire Science program.

“Ultimately, I want the Fire Science program to be a top-notch program known throughout the state,” he said. “We are hiring more instructors with the education, training and experience who bring a wealth of instructional knowledge and will improve our overall program.”

For more information on L&C’s Fire Science program, contact Burnley at (618) 468-4914 or or visit

L&C is enrolling now for Fall 2020, Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. Visit or contact (618) 468-2222 or to get started.