School superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson passed away yesterday evening after a reoccurring battle with cancer. She was only 55. Maria led school districts in Charleston, South Carolina, (where she was the first African-American superintendent) and Seattle. Most recently she was involved in the new “Education Achievement System” district in Michigan. Goodloe-Johnson, who I knew from a few professional overlaps, was not the natural glad-hander or political operator that you often see in those roles – and it cost her. But, she was genuinely committed to improving education – especially for those students persistently underserved by the system today. Maria wasn’t a “reformer” in the common use of that term today but she was hardly a fan of today’s status quo either and had some tough fights, especially in Seattle, to drive change. She leaves behind a family. In addition to that legacy she leaves one of hard work. A reminder of how, underneath all the back and forth in the public debate, there are a lot of people just trying, often tirelessly, to solve this problem.
2 Replies to “Maria Goodloe-Johnson”
Maria was a class act who cared deeply about children. It was truly a pleasure and an honor to know her and to spend time with her. She will be missed. Rest in peace Maria and thank you for your service to children.
Maria Goodloe Johnson was right down the line for excellence in education for our children. In an age where the field of reformers is sometimes crowded with politician-educators, celebrity supes, career climbers, and worse, someone so true to the cause of our children and so humble is the rarest of rare reformers. Maria Goodloe Johnson just stands out from even the best of us for her dignity, her truth, and her fighting spirit. For Maria, the kids came first. God Bless her family and her daughter. Her passing is a terrible loss.