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Doris Burke applies for vacancy on Wake school board

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A woman who lost to Rosa Gill for a seat on the Wake County school board in 1999 now hopes to replace her.

Doris Burke, a retired educator, is the only applicant so far to fill the vacancy caused by Gill taking a seat in the General Assembly. Gill had beaten Burke to win her first term on the school board.

"I would welcome this opportunity to continue to help meet the elementary and secondary educational needs of Wake County by serving in this position," Burke wrote in her cover letter.

Burke, 78, has been involved in schools in Wake since 1961, serving as a science teacher, administrator and now a substitute teacher.

Burke was one of four candidates who ran for the District 4 seat, which covers Southeast Raleigh, in 1999. They ran after school board member Harriet Webster decided not to seek another term because of poor health.

In 2003, Burke applied for a vacancy on the Wake County board of commissioners caused by Vernon Malone's election to the General Assembly. Harold Webb was tapped by the leadership of the Wake County Democratic Party.

Malone is also the root cause for the latest changes. His death in April led to the Wake Dems choosing Dan Blue to fiinish out his term.

The Wake Dems then picked Gill to finish out Blue's term in the state House.

Burke said many community residents had urged her to apply for Gill's vacancy.

Burke said her plan is to only finish out Gill's term, which expires November 2011. She doesn't plan on running for a full term.

If chosen, Burke would be a backer of current school board policies. For instance, she said she backs the weekly Wednesday early dismissals because she feels that students will ultimately benefit from the time that teachers spend in professional learning communities.

Burke said she still stands behind the positions she had in the 1999 board race when she backed the diversity policy and preserving the magnet program.

"I've lived through separate-but-equal, and I don't trust that it would be equal this time, either," said Burke in a 1999 article about neighborhood schools. "Wake schools are doing well, and when you are doing well, you don't change by going backward."

Applicants, who must live in District 4, have until noon July 20 to submit their paperwork to the district. Board members hope to fill the position next month.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.