Published: May 17, 2011 10:35 PM EDT
Updated: May 17, 2011 3:42 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Dr. Joseph Burke, the sitting superintendent in Monroe County, has been chosen as the new superintendent for Lee County schools. Burke beat out 42 other candidates that were eventually narrowed down to four, including Lee Chief Academic Officer Constance Jones, Naples High Principal Nancy Graham and Steven Cobb from the Fort Wayne, Indiana Community School District.  

The one dissenting vote against Burke came from board member Jeanne Dozier. She stated at the beginning of the meeting that she would not support Burke. Instead, she listed locals Jones and Graham as her first and second choices.

Burke will certainly have his work cut out for him. Monroe County has about 8,000 students. Lee County has more than 80,000 students.

Burke said he is ready to tackle a host of issues including the budget, transportation audits and the controversial school choice versus neighborhood schools debate. 

“Each of the four finalists brought quality to the table, and the decision was difficult for all of us,” said Thomas Scott, School Board Chairman.

“In the end, Dr. Burke’s qualifications were at a higher level than the others, and that is what we were looking for – someone who can hit the ground running and continue moving our District forward.”