Jeff Burnett Announces Retirement from Board of Trustees
Dr. Jeff Burnett, longtime member of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Board of Trustees, retired from board service March 20. He turned in his resignation just two months before his 16th anniversary of service. The Burnetts closed on the sale of their home in Bedford March 20 and will live in a new residence in Fort Worth.
Burnett was first elected to the Board of Trustees May 6, 1997. Within two years, he was helping other Board members conduct a superintendent search after the retirement of Dr. Ron Caloss. The Board hired Dr. Gene Buinger, superintendent of schools, in June 1999.
Other accomplishments during Burnett's first five years of service include the establishment of Schools of Choice programs, including International Baccalaureate, Spanish Immersion, Suzuki Strings and Secondary Orchestra, Core Knowledge and Core Knowledge Pre-K. Since 2006, HEB ISD has implemented the International Business Initiative, which offers Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, and Arabic beginning in seventh grade.
But it is the HEB ISD Character Education program that has been Burnett's passion. He was instrumental in the creation of the 10 Guiding Principals of Excellent Character: Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Compassion, Courage, Perseverance, Self-Control, Commitment, Initiative, and Cooperation. Posters with these character attributes are located on every campus. To demonstrate his own good character, he has personally telephoned each HEB ISD employee on their birthday to deliver best wishes.
In addition to his accomplishments, Burnett saw many changes during his tenure, especially in state accountability, as Texas schools moved from TAAS to TAKS and now to STAAR. HEB ISD became a "Recognized" school district and the Education Resource Group rated HEB ISD the number one school district in Texas. Other honors include being named to the 100 Best Music Communities list, schools being named to the prestigious Texas Business Education Coalition Honor Roll Schools list, and two schools being named national Blue Ribbon schools in the same year.
In 2004, Burnett and the other members of the Board embraced Continuous Improvement (CI) and established the District's vision, mission, goals, and core messages. The CI initiative continues today and is responsible for high academic performance and efficient operations, which have helped HEB ISD maintain its academic and financial stability in the midst of the state's financial crisis. In 2008, the HEB ISD Board of Trustees received the Good Governance Award from the Texas Association of School Boards. Out of 1,050 school districts in Texas, only eight had received this award at the time.
In 2010, the Board established the Leadership Academy to teach local residents how a school district operates. Burnett made presentations to this group as well as to convention groups, visiting dignitaries, and visiting educators. He recently spoke to a group of secondary principals visiting from Russia.
Burnett served as Board Vice President twice and as President from 2009 -- 2011. For as long as anyone can remember he has served as one of Santa's elves, making helicopter visits to all 19 elementary campuses as part of Santa USA. He is also most remembered for asking "Is it good for kids?" before making any major Board decisions.
The Board of Trustees has created a process available here to fill the vacancy by May 2012.