Outgoing Minneapolis superintendent Bernadeia Johnson says school district in good hands

Bernadeia Johnson
Minneapolis Public School Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson.
Photo courtesy Minneapolis Public Schools

Outgoing Minneapolis superintendent Bernadeia Johnson said she's leaving the district in better shape than when she took the job four and a half years ago.

Johnson abruptly announced her resignation last month and will leave the job at the end of January. The requirements of being superintendent don't allow her to spend enough time caring for her aging grandparents, she said on The Daily Circuit Monday. Her grandmother is 99 and her grandfather is nearly 107.

Johnson will attend her last board meeting on Tuesday.

She hopes initiatives she put in place to increase the test scores of students of color will be given time to show results.

"The work that I've been able to do that's foundational to the district is in good hands to move forward," she said on The Daily Circuit. "This is the time to leave to move forward so the district can move on with its great work."

Critics point out that significant achievement gaps between white students and students of color persisted during Johnson's tenure, something she's expressed frustration over as well.

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Johnson also responded to a Star Tribune report that found employees, including Johnson, made unauthorized purchases on district credit cards, and at times have failed to turn in receipts.

Johnson said she hasn't seen examples of employees making personal purchases on district credit cards, but the district should consider changing policy to authorize certain work-related purchases by administrators.

"We need to go back and look at should we make some adjustments to the policy so that we're in line with what we say is important to use, but also recognizing that for a superintendent to buy a laptop or an iPad is an allowable expense," she said.

District CEO Michael Goar will take over as interim superintendent when Johnson leaves, and has said he's interested in the permanent job. Johnson said she's not interested in finding another superintendent job in the short term, but may consider that option in the future.