Maria Goodloe-Johnson, the former superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, has passed away, the Seattle Times reports. She was 55.
A friend and colleague told the Times she was battling cancer.
Goodloe-Johnson oversaw some major changes in the district during her three and a half years in the top district job. She oversaw some controversial decisions in the Central District, including the closure of TT Minor in 2009 and the sale of the MLK Elementary School building to First AME in 2010. The MLK sale was part of a state investigation that played a part in Goodloe-Johnson’s firing in 2011 (though she was not directly implicated in the scandal).
But friends hope she is remembered not for the scandal, but her work for children and education in Seattle, Charleston and Detroit.
“I do know she understood and she was not bitter about it,” said Michael Casserly, a friend and colleague who directs the Council of the Great City Schools, a national organization of urban school districts.
“At the same time, she was committed to finding a place for herself in the education world.”
Casserly said Goodloe-Johnson was hospitalized recently with cancer.
If she was ill when she was in Seattle, however, many people did not know it, including Susan Enfield, who worked closely with Goodloe-Johnson as the district’s chief academic officer.
Enfield, who served as Seattle’s interim superintendent after Goodloe-Johnson left, said Wednesday her thoughts and prayers were with Goodloe-Johnson’s husband, Bruce Johnson, and their young daughter, Maya.
“I just hope everyone in Seattle will remember how hard she worked on behalf of the city’s children,” Enfield said.