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Former Principal Named New Wake County School Superintendent

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A deputy superintendent within the

Wake County Public School System

has been selected as the school system's seventh superintendent, system leaders announced Thursday.

In a 6-2 vote, the Board of Education decided to select a superintendent from within -- someone who has intimate knowledge of the district's growth challenges. With an education career that spans four decades in this area, Del Burns fits the profile.

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    "Dr. Burns is a proven leader with a passion for education and this community," said school board Chairwoman Patti Head. "We have great confidence in his vision and are excited about his plans for leading our schools."

    Burns, who was the school system's 1999 Principal of the Year while he was at Millbrook High School, most recently was the deputy superintendent for the school system.

    "My experience as an educator is deep," said Burns. "I've served as a teacher, a principal."

    He began his career with the Wake County school system in 1976 as a special education teacher at Root Elementary School and worked as a principal at Washington Elementary School and East Wake High School.

    In April 2000, Burns was named associate superintendent of the Wake County school system, and was promoted to deputy superintendent in July 2003. Burns developed a background in education finance, something he'll need to help convince taxpayers to support a billion-dollar bond referendum to pay for new schools.

    The board's two newest members -- Horace Tart and Ron Margiotta -- voted against hiring Burns at this time. They thought the board should have expanded the search on a national level.

    "I voted because of not following the procedure that I think the constituents wanted, and that was to go outside," said Tart.

    But administration officials said that would have added months to the search and cost tens of thousands of dollars. They said Burns was the overwhelming favorite.

    Burns replaces outgoing Superintendent Bill McNeal, who announced last fall the he is retiring in June. Burns will take over July 1.

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