Former Seattle school superintendent addresses firing, controversy

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by JIM FORMAN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Jimformanking5

KING5.com

Posted on March 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 10 at 8:33 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Fired Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson says she wants to set the record straight over the spending controversy that ultimately led to her firing last week.

Calls for Goodloe-Johnson's ouster followed a report which outlined wasteful spending and potentially criminal abuse surrounding the handling of nearly $2 million by a man named Silas Potter, supposedly for a small business training program.

Goodloe-Johnson says she never interacted with Potter.

"He was an employee at the district that was responsible for the program," said Goodloe-Johnson.

Goodloe-Johnson insisted, when it comes to Potter, she is not guilty. And, she is mad.

"While I'm pretty angry that any public employee would abuse the trust and money like that of a public entity, that I had no involvement with that," she said.

When asked why she didn't fight to keep her job, Goodloe-Johnson said she respects the position and the responsibility the school board took to make the change in leadership.

Goodloe-Johnson negotiated a golden parachute with the Seattle school district worth about $300,000. Some of her critics take issue with that.

"I say to them that I have a contract and that the audit and the independent investigation clearly said I was not involved and didn't have any involvement in this unfortunate event and that the board can certainly make a decision to change leadership. And so, with that comes, a severance," said Goodloe-Johnson, who believes she was a political casualty.

She seemed to reject the idea that race played a role in her firing.

Goodloe-Johnson has moved back to Charleston, South Carolina, enrolled her daughter in a new school and is caring for her seriously ill mother. She says she plans to return to education and says several school districts have already contacted her.

 

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