Former Superintendent of Seattle Schools Maria Goodloe-Johnson dies at 55

Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson
Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson died Wednesday afternoon. (KIRO Radio File) | Zoom
The former Superintendent of Seattle Schools, Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson has died at age 55.

According to the Seattle Times, Seattle Public Schools were notified at about 4:30 p.m. that Goodloe-Johnson had passed away about an hour before.

Her death, district spokeswoman Teresa Wippel told the Times, "was a total shock to everybody here."

A friend and colleague who directs the Council of the Great City Schools, Michael Casserly, told The Seattle Times she was recently hospitalized with cancer.

Goodloe-Johnson's tenure in Seattle was tenuous. She was often the target of criticism from teachers and parents.

In an exclusive interview with KIRO Radio's Linda Thomas in 2010, Goodloe-Johnson responded to her critics.

"I'm tough on issues, but I don't think I'm tough on people," said Goodloe-Johnson. "If leadership is a challenge around providing what's best for our kids, then that's okay. Because it's not okay for some students not to be doing well."

Goodloe-Johnson was fired in May 2011 following a financial scandal: $1.5 million in losses and questionable spending by the school district's Regional Small Business Development Program headed by Silas Potter, Jr. between September of 2005 and August of 2009.

Goodloe-Johnson previously headed the Charleston County School District in South Carolina.

One of her accomplishments in Seattle was negotiating a teachers' contract that included student performance in job evaluations.

The Seattle School District said she improved student academic achievement. The district extended condolences to her husband Bruce and daughter Maya.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alyssa Kleven, Editor
Alyssa Kleven is an editor and content producer at She enjoys doting over her adorable dachshund Winnie - named for Arcade Fire front-man Win Butler.
Top Stories

  • Trial Beginning
    Twelve Seattle police officers will begin using new body-worn cameras next week

  • Week in Photos
    Penguins, cheetahs and Santa make it in this week's photos
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.