ERIE, Mich. - Marlene Mills, the superintendent of the Mason Consolidated School District and one of eight candidates vying to become superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, has resigned from her job, effective Dec. 31.
Ms. Mills, 56, who has been superintendent of Mason schools since 2002, said she delivered a resignation letter Wednesday night to Donald Pearce, president of the board of education.
The letter states that while Ms. Mills plans to leave the district by Dec. 31, she could stay an additional month, if necessary, to ease the transition.
Her contract does not expire until 2010, according to Ms. Mills, who is paid $109,000 a year.
The school board is tentatively scheduled to decide at a meeting tomorrow night whether to accept Ms. Mills' resignation.
If they do, board members will likely discuss what to do about finding her successor, Kent Swick, a board member, said.
In an interview yesterday, Ms. Mills said she is resigning because some school board members have been micromanaging the district and usurping responsibilities traditionally handled by the superintendent.
"They've basically rendered me ineffective," she said.
Ms. Mills also said some recent changes the board has made against her advice - such as new restrictions against out-of-town trips for professional development - will have a negative effect on the quality of education in the 1,400-student district.
"When the board and the superintendent aren't getting along, it affects student achievement," she said.
Mr. Pearce did not return a message left at his home yesterday seeking comment.
Mr. Swick, a former board president, agreed with parts of Ms. Mills' assessment of her interaction with the board.
"There are some philosophical differences with the [board majority] and Ms. Mills' method of leadership," he said.
Board member William Saul said Ms. Mills is "probably one of the finest [superintendents] in the state," and noted how she implemented changes that have helped raise student performance.
Regarding Ms. Mills' critics, Mr. Saul said: "They are actually doing everything they can to destroy her reputation."
Ms. Mills said that, in general, disagreements between superintendents and their school boards are not uncommon, so she does not anticipate her resignation harming her chance for becoming Toledo's superintendent.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Mills worked in Toledo Public Schools as a teacher, assistant principal, and a principal from 1982 to 1992.
Steven Steel, a member of the Toledo Board of Education, said it is too early in the hiring process to determine whether Ms. Mills' resignation - and the circumstances surrounding it - would affect her candidacy.
Ms. Mills said she was recently one of three finalists for superintendent of Flat Rock (Mich.) Schools, but was not chosen.
She declined to say whether she is applying for jobs at other school systems besides Toledo's.
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