ROCKWALL ISD SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS GENE BURTON TO RETIRE

Press Release from the Rockwall Independent School District, Rockwall, Texas.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:    Sheri Fowler

469-698-7002 (office)

214-926-6466 (cell)

ROCKWALL ISD SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS GENE BURTON TO RETIRE AT CONCLUSION OF 2009-2010 SCHOOL YEAR

At their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 25, 2010, the Rockwall ISD Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Gene Burton, effective June 2010.  Dr. Burton has served the district as superintendent since May of 2001 and will retire at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 school year.

“It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve the employees and families of Rockwall ISD,” said Dr. Burton.  “The staff, the parents and the community as a whole have always shown me unyielding support and I am forever grateful for all those who have worked side-by-side with me to help provide meaningful learning opportunities for children.”

Dr. Burton’s career in the Rockwall Independent School District began in July of 1994 as the assistant superintendent for business operations. He was then promoted to deputy superintendent, and in May 2001, Dr. Burton was named superintendent of Rockwall schools.  Prior to his service in RISD, Dr. Burton was a teacher/coach and principal in the Italy Independent School District, a teacher/coach in the Waxahachie Independent School District and superintendent of the Frost and Giddings school districts.

As superintendent of Rockwall schools, Dr. Burton has played an integral part in shaping the district.  He executed the 2001 bond program which totaled $139,165,000 and included the construction of Rockwall-Heath High School.  During this time, Dr. Burton worked with students, staff, parents and the community at large to help RISD smoothly transition into a multiple high school district.   He has guided the development of the first elementary Rachel’s Challenge program in the nation.  RISD is now the model district for a comprehensive kindergarten through twelfth grade Rachel’s Challenge initiative, a kindness and compassion program that takes a proactive approach to school safety.  In 2004, he participated in the development of the RISD Education Foundation, Inc., with the purpose of awarding innovative teaching grants for the classroom. He provided oversight for the development and implementation of both the 2006 and 2007 bond programs totaling $62,550,000 and $198,150,000 respectively.  The programs have included new schools, additions, renovations, infrastructure and technology upgrades at every campus as well as a new aquatic center, a new middle school, a completely renovated football stadium, two new performing arts facilities and major additions at both high schools.

“Under Dr. Burton’s leadership our school district has grown and developed to where it is today, one of the most respected and admired districts in Texas,” said RISD Board of Trustees President Craig Zurek.  “RISD is now a standard bearer in education, in the safety and health of our students and staff, in fiscal responsibility, and in teaching our children the value of care and compassion.  Thanks in great part to his vision and oversight, our schools give every child who attends an opportunity to access an education that will prepare them to be leaders in the 21st century.  Dr. Burton will be missed for all that he and his vast skills have brought to our schools, to our children, and to our community.”

On a larger scale, Dr. Burton has used his expertise to help shape the future for Texas students.  He recently participated with 34 colleagues – all Texas superintendents – in several brainstorming sessions that produced a report called Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas.  These district leaders created this document to serve as a framework for conversation about a preferred course for 21st Century education. Their goal is for this report to serve as a foundation for developing an understanding and commitment to the shared set of values and common vision for public education in Texas, ultimately leading to major transformations in all aspects of public elementary and secondary education.

According to Mr. Zurek, the Board of Trustees will begin the process of finding a new superintendent of schools immediately.

“We will post the open position as soon as possible,” said Mr. Zurek.  “The Board will then begin the process of finding the person who will take on the responsibility of leading our school district into the future.  We expect to be able to name our intended replacement for Dr. Burton as early as February so that our next superintendent of schools will have the opportunity to be on staff as early as mid-March.  We want to give the new superintendent the opportunity to use the remainder of this school year to establish, in conjunction with the Board, the goals and plans for the district for the 2010-2011 school year and beyond while Dr. Burton is still on board.”
Although Dr. Burton’s future plans are still undecided, they will include spending time with his wife, Julie, who recently retired as director of personnel for the Highland Park Independent School District, his daughter, Cecilia, and her husband, Jesse, and his first grandchild, Liliana Faith.

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