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Former TUSD governing board member Bruce Burke to fill seat left vacant by Mark Stegeman

Former TUSD governing board member Bruce Burke to fill seat left vacant by Mark Stegeman

Former TUSD board member Bruce Burke will fill the open seat on the district’s Governing Board until the end of 2020.

Pima County Schools Superintendent Dustin Williams chose Burke out of 15 applicants to replace former board member Mark Stegeman, who resigned mid-term on Oct. 3.

“His pedigree just shined through,” Williams said of Burke. “He had the attributes that we know is going to help make this transition for TUSD smooth, positive and good for students.”

Burke served on the Tucson Unified Governing Board from 2003 to 2010. His three daughters are also TUSD graduates.

“As a result of my prior school board service I am generally familiar with the district’s strengths and challenges,” he said in his application for the position.

Since leaving the board, Burke continues to advocate for increased financial support to local public schools, he said.

Burke retired in 2017 after a 42-year law career.

This experience will help inform board decisions on legal matters, especially in working toward ending the district’s 45-year-old desegregation case, he said.

District issues that are important to Burke include targeting funds to support teachers and classroom services, teacher retention, increasing enrollment numbers and being attentive to an underfunded special-education system.

The board will likely revisit adoption of a new sex ed curriculum during Burke’s appointment.

He’s followed the issue and will study it in greater depth before making any decisions, he said.

Burke will finish out Stegeman’s term, which is up at the end of 2020. He says he won’t run for a full term once the appointment is up.

Others who sought to fill Stegeman’s seat included Sunnyside School District educator Adam Ragan, who lost a bid for the TUSD Governing Board in 2018 and intends to run in 2020; Amphitheater School District educator and former state Rep. John Christopher Ackerley; and former state senator and Pima Community College board member Luis Gonzales.

Regarding his appointment, Burke called it “an honor and privilege to serve” on the TUSD board again.

“I look forward to working with Superintendent (Gabriel) Trujillo and all the members of the Governing Board to strengthen and improve the educational experience of every TUSD student,” Burke said.

Contact reporter Danyelle Khmara at dkhmara@tucson.com or 573-4223. On Twitter: @DanyelleKhmara

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Danyelle joined the Star in 2018 and covers K-12 education. Previously, Danyelle wrote for the Tucson Weekly where she won several statewide awards including story of the year and first place investigative reporting.

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