WASILLA, Alaska — More than 500 people gathered at Teeland Middle School Friday to pay their respects to Dr. Kenneth Burnley, to honor his lifelong passion for education and contributions to the Mat-Su Borough School District.
Burnley died on July 2, after complications from knee surgery. He had been on the job as superintendent for only one year, but his staffers say he set the district on track for future success.
He was remembered by speakers at Friday's memorial as a "world class leader," particularly when it came to creating a vision for the district. One of the goals he set was to make the district a model for education in Alaska and the nation.
His son, Trevor Burnley, told the gathering, "He turned us to the sunshine and encouraged us to dream."
His brother, Dennis, told the crowd that Burnely began his role as a mentor very early in life. He shared a story about how Burnley had helped him work on a report about Alaska in grade school. "Needless to say, I got an 'A' on that paper."