Winston Brooks, the superintendent of the Albuquerque, N.M., school system since 2008, stepped down as the district’s chief late last week, but the reasons behind his resignation remain under wraps.
The city’s school board announced Brooks’ resignation last Friday and released a statement saying that “the decision to end the employment relationship will allow both the Board and Brooks to establish a new direction. Both agree that this decision is the best option for APS at this time.”
Brooks got a $350,000 buyout and a settlement agreement that guarantees that the findings of an ongoing investigation into a “serious personnel issue” involving the superintendent will not be made public.
Last month, the school board hired a law firm to look into the personnel matter that involved Brooks, according to the Albuquerque Journal. A report was done, but its contents have not been disclosed. The Journal also reported that the settlement agreement between Brooks and the school board includes several references to the superintendent’s wife, Ann Brooks. The agreement also includes language that neither Brooks nor members of the school board would “disparage” one another.
It’s a rather bizarre end to an urban superintendency that was controversial at times. Last fall, the school board suspended Brooks for three days after he tweeted insults about New Mexico’s education-secretary designate, Hanna Skandera, with whom he often disagreed on education policy. He apologized and suspended his Twitter account after the incident.
And according to the Journal, the district is defending itself from lawsuits filed by former employees who allege discrimination against women and “sex-related bullying.”
Brooks was the president of the Council of the Great City Schools organization in the 2011-12 school year. The organization, which represents 67 of the largest districts in the country, held its annual convention in Albuquerque in 2013.
Before being hired in Albuquerque, Brooks served as the schools superintendent in Wichita for 10 years.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.