Fran Burns, the Philadelphia School District's chief operating officer, is leaving the school system at the end of the month.

Burns, who has been a member of Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.'s cabinet for the last four years, will teach at Villanova University, her alma mater.

Who will fill Burns' role in both the short and long term has not been determined, said Kevin Geary, a district spokesman.

Former Licenses and Inspection commissioner Fran Burns answers a question during a special city council investigative committee hearing on demolition practices in Philadelphia and elsewhere August 1, 2013. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )
CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer
Former Licenses and Inspection commissioner Fran Burns answers a question during a special city council investigative committee hearing on demolition practices in Philadelphia and elsewhere August 1, 2013. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )

Burns previously worked as executive director of the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority and as chief of Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections.

Jumping to Villanova "is a nice way to translate the work that I've done for the past 20 years into a similar but different experience in teaching," Burns said. "It feels like public service, but just in a different arena."

She said she hopes to have more time to spend with her family.

Burns will be teaching classes in public administration at the university beginning in the fall semester. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Villanova.

She said she was proud of her work at the district, in particular "trying to rebuild a sense of service and responsiveness and really being school-facing and supportive," said Burns. "The only reasons operations exists is to support teachers, principals, and children."

Burns said she was proud of the relationships she had built with the labor unions representing the district's blue-collar workers.

She said she did not believe her departure would affect ongoing negotiations with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The district's largest union has been working without a contract for nearly four years.