North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

July 18, 2013

UPDATED: Dr. William Burkett, namesake of multi-handicapped school, dies

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

— Dr. William Burkett, the former Jefferson County Schools superintendent and the namesake of the Burkett Center for the Multi-Handicapped in Morris, died Thursday after an extended illness.

Burkett was principal at Mortimer Jordan High for two years before taking over as superintendent, where he headed the system from 1984 to 1989. He was the first native of Jefferson County to ever head its school system. The building that was home to Jordan before its moved to its current Kimberly facility is now home to the Burkett Center.

Burkett was an alumnus of Mortimer Jordan, then came back as a coach and teacher, and then assistant principal as well. Before he took the principal's position there, he served as principal at Palmerdale School and Mt. Olive Junior High.

Burkett had battled leukemia in his last year, according to his son Bill.

Visitation for Dr. Burkett will be Monday, 6-8 p.m. at The New Gardendale Funeral Home, with funeral services there Tuesday at 2 p.m. He will be buried in Oakwood Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks instead that donations be made to the JefCoEd Foundation in Dr. Burkett's name. Contributions may be sent to the foundation at 2100 18th Street South, Birmingham AL, 35209.

[Updated at 7:45 a.m. with funeral arrangements, and again at 1:30 p.m. with the address of the foundation.]