Burnette: 'I'm willing to stay as long as they need me'

May 27—After the Owensboro Public Schools board announced the suspension of superintendent Matthew Constant, the unanimous decision was made to appoint Anita Burnette as the interim.

Burnette said she received a phone call Wednesday about the position.

"I was surprised, it was a surprised phone call," she said. "I had to take a few minutes and talk with my family because it's a sacrifice of time."

Burnette said she was "originally shocked" by the phone call, but said it was something the district needed to do.

"Our staff deserves for everything to be stable and ready to go," she said. "Right now we just need to make sure we can finish our school year. We've got to get ready and prepare for next year."

While acting as interim superintendent, Burnette said she plans on continuing the work that has been in place.

Burnette retired from the district after serving as the assistant principal and principal at Owensboro High School, but she hadn't fully left the education field.

"I was doing mentoring last year with assistant principals, but it was just a part-time position," she said.

Before taking on administrative roles at OHS, Burnette taught special education within the district and helped start OPS' first alternative school.

"I love being in the buildings with the kids and the teachers," she said. "I love the energy. It's part of who I am. I've always wanted to stay connected."

Burnette declined to comment on the suspension of Constant.

"I'm willing to stay as long as they need me," she said.

Jeremy Luckett, board chairman, said Thursday that the board has "immense faith" in Burnette leading the district in the interim.

The board voted Thursday to suspend Constant with pay after learning three days earlier that he was being investigated by the Kentucky State Police.

The board delayed the suspension until after Owensboro High School's graduation Wednesday.

Beyond not involving a current or past OPS student, the school district and the KSP have declined to give any more information about the pending investigation.