Newark schools chief to step down after stormy 4-year tenure
NEWARK (AP) — The superintendent of Newark schools will step down next month, officials said Monday, ending a stormy four years leading the state-run district.
Gov. Chris Christie's administration announced that Cami Anderson will leave office by July 8. She will be replaced by Chris Cerf, pending approval by the state Board of Education. Cerf was New Jersey's education commissioner for three years starting in early 2011.
"Superintendent Anderson has worked tirelessly over the last four years to implement a bold educational vision for the students and parents of Newark," said state Education Commissioner David Hespe, citing her successes including reaching a deal on a teachers' contract. "We know that these positive educational reforms will continue to benefit the students and parents of Newark for years to come."
In February, Hespe announced that Anderson's contract had been renewed for another year. Her salary was roughly $250,000. That came a week after a group of students camped out for four days in Newark's school district headquarters to protest her leadership.
Anderson's tenure in Newark was marked by opposition from parents and city leaders including current Mayor Ras Baraka, who was a high school principal before being elected a year ago, and who had previously called for Anderson's resignation.
The rancor reached a high pitch several months after Anderson's hiring when a plan to close some underperforming schools and merge others was revealed. At a raucous public meeting, she cut a presentation short after being shouted down by parents.
Last fall, some parents and students organized a boycott on the first day of school to protest One Newark, a new system that was touted as increasing school choice but was criticized by some who said it created transportation headaches and didn't place children in better schools.
Before being appointed superintendent in Newark, Anderson worked for numerous education groups including a New York City network of more than 300 alternative schools for at-risk youths and Teach For America, which recruits teachers to work in urban schools.
Anderson couldn't immediately be reached for comment Monday.
Last fall, she announced that test scores at the city's seven Renew Schools, which have longer school days, had showed marked improvement, and that the district had its first major increase in enrollment in a decade, a sign, she said, that more families wanted their children to attend district schools.
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