New University Place school board member is veteran South Sound educator

Longtime Tacoma-area educator Ethelda Burke is the newest member of the University Place School Board.

The 40-year resident of University Place was appointed Jan. 28 to fill the seat vacated by Christine Kilduff, a Democrat who was elected to the state House of Representatives from the 28th District.

Burke was formerly superintendent of the Tukwila School District. She resigned in 2012 after five years on the job, following complaints alleging that she made racially insensitive remarks. Both Burke and the employees who complained are African-American.

Prior to her time in Tukwila, Burke was principal of Stadium High School and deputy superintendent in Tacoma.

Burke is active in the NAACP, the Tacoma Urban League and is an American Leadership Forum fellow. She is a member of Shiloh Baptist Church and tutors students.

In her application for the school board seat, Burke said: “As someone who has dedicated a 40-year career to public education, I remain convinced that it is the single greatest means available to society to improve students' lives, and enable them to contribute to and enrich their communities, and ultimately to better society at large.”