Monroe principal Burns to take a year off

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, May 30, 2013

— A principal loved by many will take a year off as she continues to battle cancer, the Janesville School District announced Wednesday.

Principal Lori Burns of Monroe Elementary School has not been at work since she was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in early February.

The school district will advertise for a one-year interim principal to take over for the 2013-14 school year, according to a letter sent to Monroe Elementary families.

Burns announced she would take the time off at a Monroe Elementary staff meeting Tuesday, according to the letter from Steve Sperry, director of human and administrative services. Sperry and Superintendent Karen Schulte praised staff members at the meeting "for all their hard work in continuing to provide students with excellent educational opportunities" in Burns' absence, Sperry wrote.

Sally Pope, a former counselor at Monroe, has been filling in as building coordinator this spring, with help from retired Janesville Principal Mike Kuehne.

Staff members will be involved in choosing the interim principal as part of the district's normal selection process, Sperry wrote.

Burns, 44, has worked in the local district for 22 years, including 12 years at Edison Middle School. She was appointed principal at Monroe Elementary in 2005. She is a wife and mother of three teenagers.

News of Burns' situation spawned a number of fundraisers to help the Burns family with expenses not covered by insurance.

Burns started the school year by addressing the entire district staff, encouraging them to participate in a U.S. Cellular contest to win money for her school. The effort led to an award of $50,000 from the company, which was used to buy Smart Boards and other technology for Monroe.

Last updated: 10:31 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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