Wake County Superintendent Del Burns will be honored today for his many years of service to the school system.
But don't expect the celebration to be held by the school board, whose new majority put Burns on paid leave for the complaints he made about them during media interviews. Instead, a group of former school board members will be hosting a celebratory dinner tonight for Burns.
"This is the proper thing to do," said former school board member Patti Head, who organized tonight's celebration. "This is a celebration."
Head praised Burns for his service to the children during a career that began in Wake in 1976. Except for brief stints in the private sector and in other school systems, Burns has spent most of his career in Wake.
Head is among the former school board members who've voiced concerns about the new majority's elimination of the socioeconomic diversity policy.
It was those complaints about ending the diversity policy and allegations of the new majority engaging in partisanship that led Burns to be put on paid leave on March 9. Burns will remain on leave through his June 30 resignation date.
Burns had been available the past few months to consult with the board and Interim Superintendent Donna Hargens. But he wasn't given any duties so he's spent a lot of time at the beach.