- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Embattled Minneapolis Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson, whose district has struggled to meet its goals of closing the achievement gap between white and minority students, abruptly resigned Tuesday, citing family commitments.

The Minneapolis School Board accepted Johnson’s resignation at its meeting Tuesday. Johnson, who did not attend, plans to stay in the job through the end of January.

According to a statement on the district’s website, Johnson said “family commitments have become increasingly challenging” and that “stepping down would best serve both the school district and her family.”

“Now is the appropriate time for me to step aside, not because I doubt our direction or our dedication,” Johnson said in a statement. “I am acknowledging that the role of superintendent for this next phase of the work requires a level of intensity and focus to which I am unable to fully commit at this time.”

Johnson’s departure comes less than a month after the school board gave her low marks for boosting student achievement, the Star Tribune reported. The district is facing one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation, dramatically disproportionate suspension rates for students of color and a growing number of parents pulling their students from city schools.

Johnson is leaving after more than four years on the job. School officials said they did not ask for Johnson’s resignation.

Board Chair Richard Mammen called Johnson an exemplary leader and champion for children, schools and urban education, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“Her leadership has brought clear vision for the path ahead and her team has established aggressive goals to move us toward that vision,” Mammen said in a statement.

Minneapolis Public Schools CEO Michael Goar will serve as interim superintendent.

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