Superintendent to retire after 45 years in education

Olivia Hines, Staff writer

Dare County Schools superintendent Dr. Sue Burgess made a shocking announcement Jan. 11 when she made public her decision to retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

Burgess received her undergraduate degree at Ohio University. She went on to earn a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech and her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in educational leadership and administration.  She began teaching in 1974 at North Davidson Junior High School in Welcome, NC. As a teacher, Burgess was frequently called on to lead school projects and pursue leadership roles. She went on to serve as an assistant principal and to work in central office prior to becoming a superintendent. Burgess served as the superintendent of schools in two Virginia districts, King William County and Spotsylvania County before her move to Dare County. She began her tenure here July 1, 2000.

“It gives me immense satisfaction to have had the opportunity, afforded only to a few, to provide an uncommon continuity of leadership while at the helm of one of North Carolina’s best school systems,” Burgess said.  “That satisfaction makes my retirement bittersweet.”

At 65 years old, Burgess is the longest serving superintendent in the state of North Carolina. This marks her 17th year in her current position. Upon retirement, she will have completed 45 years in the education profession, 30 of which took place in North Carolina.

“I am very happy for her,” principal John Luciano said. “Seventeen years is a long run for sure.”

To fill the open superintendent position, the Dare County Board of Education has decided to conduct a national search.

“One of the strongest attributes of Dare County Schools is the quality of its teachers, support staff and administrators. These leaders are exceptionally well-equipped to continue the excellent instructional programs already in place for our students,” Burgess said.  “The Dare County Board of Education has decided to conduct a national search to select its news superintendent. I have full confidence that they will choose an outstanding educator under whom Dare County Schools will soar to even greater heights.”

For the remaining five months of her contract, she plans to focus on helping the school system transition to new leadership. She then plans to discover what lies ahead in her retirement. Burgess envisions living in Nags Head, serving as a community volunteer and possibly working as a consultant.

“We feel she has done an outstanding job in all her 17 years and we will be very sad to see her go,” Dare County Board of Education member David Twiddy said.