Longtime Cincinnati Superintendent Mary Ronan will retire at the end of the 2016-17 school year, after nearly a decade leading the school system, the district announced Thursday.
Ronan’s last day will be Aug. 1, 2017. In the interim, the district will undertake an internal and national search for a replacement.
“It has been an honor to serve Cincinnati Public Schools throughout my 40-year career as an educator, and I am grateful to our voters and partners for supporting the students and families of our community,” Ronan said in a statement.
Ronan started as a math and science teacher in the Cincinnati district in 1976.
Her nine years as superintendent far exceeded the tenure of other urban district leaders, who stay on the job an average of 3.2 years, according to a 2014 survey by the Council of the Great City Schools, the Washington-based organization that represents urban school systems.
As superintendent, Ronan launched the Elementary Initiative, which focused on improving the district’s 16 lowest-performing elementary schools. In the 2014-15 school year, she also launched My Tomorrow, a college, career, and workforce readiness initiative, starting with 7th and 8th graders. Another program, Vision 2020, which started this year, seeks to improve schools with a focus on academics and neighborhood support programs.
The district also gained national attention for its community schools approach—where health, vision, and dental centers were established on some campuses—which expanded to 42 schools during Ronan’s tenure.
After many years of losing students, enrollment increased in the last five years under Ronan, according to the district.
Ronan’s focus on school improvement in Cincinnati earned her a place as one of Education Week’s 2013 Leaders to Learn From, an annual feature that spotlights the work of stellar district leaders across the country.
Cincinnati Board of Education President Ericka Copeland-Dansby praised Ronan’s leadership.
“During Mary’s tenure, CPS has made tremendous progress, becoming the highest-performing urban district in the state and extending the district’s national reputation for innovative strategies to advance student success,” Copeland-Dansby said.
Photo: Mary Ronan, Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools
--Rick Lohore for Education Week
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.