Audio report above by Delores Handy. Text report below by Benjamin Swasey.
BOSTON — After nearly six years leading Boston’s public schools, Superintendent Carol Johnson has announced she will retire after this school year.
“I am so proud of what we have accomplished together,” Johnson said in a statement and video. “We have improved our high school graduation rates and MCAS performance, we have brought hundreds of students back who had dropped out of school, and are closing achievement gaps. We have expanded academic support for our English Language Learners and students with disabilities, and we have increased the number of quality school choices through our turnaround, in-district charter and innovation schools.”
She added: “This has been a difficult decision, but as you aware, the loss of my husband and best friend Matthew last month has been life-altering for me and my entire family.”
In March, the Boston School Committee approved a major overhaul of how students are assigned to the city’s public schools; Johnson was not at the hearing because of the death of her husband.
Johnson entered this past school year embattled, as her department faced issues including chronically late buses and the controversial closings of some schools. Some called for her ouster when she failed to discipline a headmaster who was arrested for assaulting his wife.
But in the BPS statement, Mayor Thomas Menino praised Johnson’s work:
Dr. Johnson is one of the most compassionate, caring and talented Superintendents in the United States. She continued the extraordinary transformation of our schools and from day one has focused on creating better schools and offering great classrooms for every child. I often say that she has one of the hardest jobs in the city and she has done it well. We are grateful for everything she has been able to accomplish for our city’s families.
Gov. Deval Patrick also lauded her tenure.
“I congratulate Carol on a job well done,” he said in the statement. “She moves on to her next chapter having created lasting, meaningful improvement in Boston’s schools that has resulted in a brighter future for tens of thousands of young people.”
The statement said Johnson will ask the School Committee to appoint an interim superintendent.