Burleson's parting comments to the board

MORGANTON, NC (WBTV) - At the end of the meeting Tuesday, the school board allowed him to address the large crowd.

Here is what he said to the group:

"I guess I have never had this speech before. I will say that I am blessed to have a wonderful family, great friends and tremendous supporters. And for that I am very appreciative.

"I want to thank all of you that care about children. I would encourage everyone listening to this to focus on the children. To focus on what is right about them everyday. And to move the school system forward.

"Today is my last day based on the agreement ... and I have enjoyed 27 years in Burke County and I have loved most every minute of it. "

"I can say that with all the sincerity. I can say we all make mistakes and I 've made my share.

"But, I can tell you two things. Number one, I did what I did for what was best for children.

"Number two, in my whole career I never at any one time thought I did anything that was wrong for a person. I try to do it based on what I thought was appropriate and right.

"If you look at where we are now and where we were 10 years ago you will see we have the lowest dropout rate we have ever had, we have the highest SATS we have ever had. Our test scores are good. Our free/reduced lunch is the highest it's ever been.

"We have a lot of issues in Burke County that we need to come together on. I hope from this point forward we will all come together and move forward because children are our most important resource and got to keep them at our focus.

"I would encourage all of you to do that. I wish all of you the very best. I would just ask you all pray for me and my family.

"God has a plan and as one door shuts, one door opens. I really believe that with my whole heart.

I thank you and God bless you."