Wake schools superintendent's resignation becomes official

Posted June 30, 2010

— Wednesday was the last official day on the job for Wake County schools Superintendent Del Burns, who unexpectedly announced his resignation in February.

Burns had not had an active role in the school system since early March when the county Board of Education placed him on administrative leave.

Burns publicly announced his resignation at a school board meeting on Feb. 16, saying he disagreed with the policies of a newly elected majority on the board. He cited the majority's opposition to mandatory assignments to year-round schools and a decade-old policy that assigned students to schools, in part, to balance of socio-economic diversity.

"I cannot in good conscience continue to serve as superintendent," Burns said in his public announcement.

He later gave public interviews criticizing the board majority for "partisan political gamesmanship," prompting board member John Tedesco to say it would be "a challenge" to work with Burns.

In March, the school board placed Burns on leave and named one of his assistants, Donna Hargens, as interim superintendent. A Chicago-based firm has been hired to conduct a national search for his replacement.

Burns has not responded to a request for comment from WRAL News. At the time of his resignation, he said he did not intend to end his career in education.

Burns became the Wake County Public School System's seventh superintendent in July 2006.

He began his career in Wake County in 1976 as a special education teacher at Root Elementary School and worked as a principal at Washington Elementary School, East Wake High School and Millbrook High School, where he earned the 1999 Principal of the Year award. In April 2000, Burns was named associate superintendent and later promoted to deputy superintendent.


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  • wildcat Jul 1, 2010

    Great! Best decision made on his part.

  • censorbait Jul 1, 2010


  • NoFreakinWay Jun 30, 2010

    The final day of Del Burns and Whacky Wednesdays. What a great day!

  • teacher56 Jun 30, 2010

    I have had the joy of working at various schools in Wake County for many years. Del Burns was a very good superintendent and had the best in mind for his students and teachers. This is another example of our new majority on the BOE tactics and policies that we will have to deal with over the next few years! Their actions of fractious debate over Burns' comments, even though true, their paying out the wazoo to hire an out of state head hunter firm at more that half of an instate comparable group, their idea of wanting a noneducator to run an education system (their talk of finding the best candidate that way is not fooling education people)their canceling membership in education groups, having private school members on their board, etc. is a punch in the gut to the people, businesses, communities, and children of Wake County. We have yet to see the detrimental effects of their implemented policies. I hope those opposed are keeping careful watch and pressure as this plays out.

  • ICTrue Jun 30, 2010

    "the new board has yet to explain how all their new policies will meet the growth needs, funding limitations, Federal and state regulations as well as though of students and parents." rand321

    Well we know that wasting a huge chunk of the school system's budget busing kids all over the county didn't do it. Hmmm,,,now what? Spend that money on schools and supplies maybe? might just work..

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 30, 2010

    Other than the election results during the last election, Burns leaving is the best thing that has happened to the Wake County Schools in a very long time.

    We're finally going to have an end of the failed socio-economic diversity based busing policy that hasn't helped the kids it was supposed to help based on the high minority dropout rate that keeps increasing every year.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 30, 2010

    Bu Bye Mr. Burns!!!

    Don't let the door hit your behind on the way out.

  • rand321 Jun 30, 2010

    How quickly we forget the battle between the school board and funding. may of the past decisions were impacted by the amount of money the county gave the schools. the new board will find many of teh same issues and will be tussling with overcrowding, resources for underperforming schools/students, etc.

    The rapid growth the schools faced during the past 10 years and are expected to face the next 10 are challenging for anybody.

    the new board has yet to explain how all their new policies will meet the growth needs, funding limitations, Federal and state regulations as well as though of students and parents.

    Once they release their reassignment plans and then budget for them, the real battles will being. We have seen nothing yet!

  • NoFreakinWay Jun 30, 2010

    "He is not done helping the youth yet"

    oh yeah, he really helped 'em here. Leave and don't ever come back you bumbling stooge.

  • NoFreakinWay Jun 30, 2010

    FINALLY! Best day in Wake County's public ed history! Don't let the door pop you on your way out you ...