Denise Juneau, the outgoing superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, will leave her job on May 1, two months before her contract expires on June 30, the district said on Friday.
Juneau said late last year she would not attempt to renew her contract after her relationship with school officials over the district’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic became strained.
She did not answer a call or text on her cell phone to solicit comment, and a district spokesman declined an interview.
The district will buy the remainder of Juneau’s contract, which entitles her to a base salary of $ 300,000 annually.
A district press release on Friday said the decision will ease the transition between Juneau and her interim successor, Brent Jones. You are leaving more than six weeks before the last day of the school year. She will remain in the Seattle area and “be available to the new leadership as a resource to help with the transition,” the press release said.
“It makes sense for our students, families, teachers and staff to make this change in May,” said a Juneau statement in the press release. “I am so proud of what we have achieved over the past few years and especially in this difficult year with so many adjustments due to the COVID pandemic.”
Chandra Hampson, president of the Seattle School Board, said the decision was “amicable” and “mutual”.
“There’s no such thing as a juicy story,” said Hampson. “I wish Denise all the best.”
Talks about an earlier change in leadership began three weeks ago, Hampson said. The earlier departure will allow Jones to play a more direct role in planning the summer school and fall, she said.
It also offers Juneau an earlier exit in the face of intense public scrutiny. Last year, the Seattle Teachers Union and the Seattle PTSA for Special Education agreed to distrust the district and its leadership.
“It’s hard to have someone on their way out in such difficult times … you are an easy target for hyperbolic criticism,” Hampson said. “I didn’t like that … It makes sense that these transitions take place earlier.”
Juneau joined Seattle Public Schools in July 2018.
Her successor, Jones, has held senior positions in the school district, district government, and other K-12 and community college systems. He is expected to serve for a year while the district searches for a permanent replacement.
Hannah Furfaro, a Seattle Times contributor, contributed to this story.