Wake schools superintendent's resignation becomes official

Posted June 30, 2010 8:27 a.m. EDT

— 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.