Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson to step down

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Carolina Leid reports from Newark. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Newark's schools superintendent is stepping down after an often stormy four-year tenure.

Gov. Chris Christie's office announced Monday that Cami Anderson will leave office by July 8. She will be replaced by Chris Cerf, who was New Jersey's education commissioner for three years starting in early 2011, pending approval by the state Board of Education.

Anderson's tenure was marked by conflict in Newark, where some parents and students opposed her plan to overhaul the struggling district.

The cause of many of the students' and parents' protests calling for Anderson's ouster was the creation of "One Newark".

It was sold as an innovative way to give families and students the option of choosing the best school for their student's needs.

But, at the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, a week before the first day of school, some children were not even assigned to a school. Some were moved from their neighborhood schools.

As a result, some students and parents organized a boycott on the first day of school last September.

Newark's schools have been under state control for decades.

Cami Anderson released a statement saying, "Today, I am announcing that I will step down as Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools at the close of the academic year. I have worked for four years to usher in critical improvements to the school system that have leveled the playing field for Newark students and paved the way for academic and social success. I am extremely proud of what my team and I have collectively accomplished.

"We achieved a substantial increase in graduation rates - from 56% percent to 70% percent. We created a merit based teacher compensation program, implemented a restorative justice program that has decreased suspensions by 37% percent, and we improved access to schools through universal enrollment. I am very grateful to everyone who has supported us in these efforts.

"Now, after twenty-one years in state control, Newark Public Schools are finally in a stable condition and can begin the return to local leadership. This is in large part due to aggressive initiatives and infrastructure improvements that have been implemented during the last four years. With so much of the necessary-but sometimes controversial and difficult-change behind it, the Newark Public Schools will be well served by new leadership that can build on this foundation. Having taken on the challenge of forging a new path, I am confident that others will be able to move the Newark Public Schools forward and reach new heights.

"I am a lifelong educator and will always stand up for justice for young people. I look forward to continuing to serve students and communities. I hope my work in Newark will serve as an important roadmap for school districts across the country that are working to provide excellent schools for all students."
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