A longtime Tacoma school administrator has resigned her job as superintendent of the Tukwila School District, saying an ongoing investigation into race discrimination complaints against her has taken a toll on her and her family.
Ethelda Burke, 66, had worked as Stadium High School principal and deputy superintendent for Tacoma Public Schools before moving to Tukwila in 2007.
Burke resigned from the Tukwila job June 30.
Nine employees of the district filed complaints against her for allegedly making inappropriate comments. One group of employees said Burke referred to them as “slaves” and another employee complained that Burke criticized him for hiring too many people of color and turning the district into a “ghetto.”
Both Burke and the complaining employees are black.
The district looked into the allegations, but the School Board rejected the complaints.
The staff members took their complaints to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is still conducting its inquiry.
In a statement issued by the school district after her resignation, Burke said: “As an African-American woman, born in a charity hospital in New Orleans, I learned at an early age what it’s like to be the victim of discrimination.”
She said she has devoted her 40-year career to providing “equity in access” for all students.
She said she resigned because the complaints have created a distraction and that she wants the district to stay focused on firstname.lastname@example.org
The Associated Press contributed to this report.