RIP, TUSD Board Member Judy Burns

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According to KOLD, TUSD Superintendent John Pedicone announced at a luncheon today that Judy Burns, a board member since 2000, died last night from a heart attack. Burns was 63.

The late Chris Limberis wrote about Burns when she won the seat after several attempts to be elected:

But low-key persistence has finally rewarded Burns, 51. In January she will replace James Noel Christ, who after two terms on the board is coveting a TUSD administrator's position to replace the one he commutes to in Tempe.

"I'm real ready," Burns says. "Someone has told me that the learning curve will be flat for me given all my years of service. I already know who's who and what's what.

"It all starts with teachers in the classroom. I want to make it attractive to go into the teaching profession," says Burns, who attended community college in Michigan before moving to Tucson nearly 30 years ago. "I want to make it attractive for teachers to be in TUSD and attractive to stay with us."

Burns jokes that she'll miss the gatherings of parents, TUSD insiders, union officials and others in the lobby and outside TUSD headquarters when the board is cloistered in long and tedious executive sessions....

Burns has a son who graduated from Tucson High School and a daughter who is a sophomore at Tucson High. She and her husband, both extremely proud of their daughter's academic success, joke that they created, improbably, a cheerleader.

The case of Burns' son highlights many of the frustrations Burns has had with TUSD's huge and often stumbling bureaucracy. Though her son transferred to Tucson High from Rincon High School and was there from the start of the fall semester, TUSD officials listed him as a dropout and phoned the Burns household five months into the school year to find out where her son was.

"We expect excellence from our teachers; we need to demand it from administrators," Burns says.

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