Education

Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz resigns

His resignation will be effective June 30.

By Jordan Shearer | Rochester Post Bulletin

Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz resigned his position with the school district on Tuesday night.

Incoming Rochester superintendent Michael Munoz
A 2011 photo of Rochester schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz.
Courtesy of Micheal Munoz

The school board went into a closed session to discuss a personnel matter during its regular board meeting. Once members came out of the closed session — shortly after 11 p.m. — they unanimously voted to approve the resignation, the Rochester Post Bulletin reported.

The resignation is effective June 30, meaning Muñoz will serve out the rest of the school year in his position. Muñoz began his role with the district in July, 2011. The effective date of his resignation will be one day short of his 10-year-anniversary as superintendent.

Muñoz's resignation will also be effective one day before his one-year contract extension was set to begin. The school board approved the extension in September. It would have covered the time from July 1 through June 30, 2022. Melissa Amundsen was the only board member to oppose the approval of the contract extension at the time.

Munoz's salary is $228,300.

Muñoz's resignation comes on the heels of multiple instances of plagiarism coming to light. David Jiang, a 2015 Century High School graduate, had started a petition calling for Muñoz to resign. The movement gained more than 1,000 signatures, and Jiang sent it to the school board prior to Tuesday's meeting.

"I was ecstatic because that means they really had heard our concerns — the community's concerns," Jiang told the Post Bulletin following Muñoz's resignation. "The message is clear: Rochester deserves better."

Although there was growing pressure on the superintendent to resign, or for the school board to remove him, his fate with the school district was unknown prior to Tuesday night.

There was no closed session listed on the agenda. Once the meeting began, board members amended the agenda to include the closed session.

The first instance of plagiarism arose when Muñoz wrote a Thanksgiving letter that included sections from multiple different sources. Once that came to light, Muñoz apologized for his actions. The school board suspended him for five days and said he would have to go through a reconciliation process.

District communications director Heather Nessler said a letter from the district's attorney, as well as the details of the reconciliation process, would be made available to the public. As of Jan. 25, neither of those documents had been released yet.

More instances of plagiarism came out in late January, including at least two instances where Muñoz plagiarized graduation speeches he gave to seniors and their families.

On Monday, school board Chair Jean Marvin acknowledged that the board had been made aware of the additional instances of plagiarism. She also acknowledged that she had received the petition calling for Muñoz to resign. She went on to say the board members pay attention to all input they receive from the public.

However, she did not indicate what Muñoz or the board intended to do about the situation, explaining the board is restricted on what it can say about personnel issues.

"We do take it very seriously ... we're not ignoring this," Marvin said on Monday about the plagiarism. "We know what our responsibility is ... we have a responsibility to ensure that the decisions we make are in the best interest of the district."

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