By Chris McGuinness

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE - The Copperas Cove Independent School District's Board of Trustees officially hired a new superintendent at a special meeting Tuesday night.

The seven members voted unanimously to select Joseph Burns, of Vidor, to replace retiring superintendent Rose Cameron as Cove's head administrator for the upcoming school year.

"We are excited to work with the community, the board and the staff here in Copperas Cove to provide a quality education to students," said Burns, who attended the meeting and visited with staff and local residents.

Burns was announced as the lone finalist for the position by the board April 23. The vote to officially hire him for the job came after a state-mandated 21-day waiting period.

Burns, 45, was chosen from a pool of 43 applicants, the majority of them hailing from Texas and more than 20 of them sitting superintendents. The board used a private consulting firm to help with the hiring process, which cost the district $10,000.

"When we interviewed (Burns), every answer he gave us came back to the students," said Joan Manning, the board's president. "He's approachable and always puts the students first."

Burns, who earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University, is employed as the superintendent for the Vidor Independent School District, which has more than 4,900 students.

Burns also worked as superintendent at the Hubbard Independent and Kirbyville Consolidated school districts, where he was named 2007 superintendent of the year.

Burns and his wife have four sons, all of whom will be enrolled in the district come next year. Burns said his family is excited for the move, and said they were "close" to finding a place to live.

Burns is scheduled to start his job officially on June 4, but says he will be "in the background" working to get caught up on the issues the district is facing as Cameron transitions out of her job - a position she has held since June 2006.

Burns said he plans to sit in on meetings and tour campuses to meet staff, but was adamant that Cameron would be in charge until he takes over the position officially.

"(Cameron) has done a wonderful job," said Burns. "She is the superintendent of schools ... it's her call and we will respect and honor that."

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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