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Former Avery County School Superintendent Dr. David Burleson Honored with Annex Named for Him

By Tim Gardner

Former Avery County Schools Superintendent Dr. David Burleson has been honored with having a building annex in Burke County, NC named for him.

School officials, its Board of Trustees members and the current student body of Morganton’s New Dimensions Charter School recently held a ceremony to dedicate the Dr. David Burleson Annex, to celebrate the man who retired as its school director at the end of 2022.

The Dr. David Burleson Annex is part of New Dimensions’ middle school complex.

It’s also a milestone in Burleson’s educational career, which lasted forty years.

Burleson said in the following statement to High Country Press, that he is elated with having the building annex named after him: “It’s quite an honor and surely makes my family and me feel good.  I appreciate all those who were instrumental in the naming of the annex for me. I’m very thankful and blessed.” 

Burleson joined New Dimensions Charter School in 2017.  He spent most of his professional career working at the high school and central office levels, before finishing it at the joint elementary and middle school levels of the charter school.

Burleson worked as a teacher, coach and in administration at Freedom High School in Morganton during the 1980s and 1990s, before becoming the superintendent of Burke County Public Schools in 2000. He remained in that post until 2009, when the then-Burke County Board of Education bought him out of his contract.

He was chosen as North Carolina Principal of the Year while at Freedom High School. And during his tenure as Burke County Public Schools Superintendent, pre-kindergarten activity buses won a National Magna Award of Excellence and the high school dropout rates and test scores for that school district improved.

After leaving as Burke County Schools Superintendent, Burleson worked two years for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, NC School System as a principal and assistant superintendent.

In 2011, Burleson, who grew up in the Roaring Creek Community of Avery County, returned to his native homeland as Superintendent of Avery County Schools, a position he held for six years.  

During his tenure in that post, student test scores improved as did the dropout rate.  In fact, Avery County twice had the lowest dropout rate among all state schools while Burleson was its superintendent. 

Additionally, he received the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s (NCHSAA) Superintendent of the Year award in 2016.

“It was so special to return to Avery County as superintendent,” Burleson said.  “I attended school at Minneapolis Elementary and Avery High. Avery County is such a beautiful place, and I have many family members and friends there.  Again, I’m a blessed man.”

Following his stint as Avery’s Superintendent, Burleson returned to Burke County, first to serve as the executive director of Burke United Christian Ministries, then as the school director at New Dimensions.

Burleson is the son of Howard and Helen Burleson.  He is married to the former Beth Dayton of Spruce Pine.  They have two children, daughters Heather and Shannon, and three grandchildren.