Marysville School District Superintendent Becky Berg's decision comes after she underwent surgery in January to remove a non-cancerous tumor from her brain.

Share story

Marysville School District Superintendent Becky Berg, praised for her leadership after a deadly shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in 2014, has resigned.

Her decision comes after she underwent surgery in January to remove a non-cancerous tumor from her brain. The surgery and recovery process caused her to “take stock of my life and my work with a renewed perspective,” she said in a district statement.

Berg was praised for her guidance in the aftermath of the 2014 shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck, when a freshman shot five of his friends before turning the gun on himself. Mental-health experts estimated that thousands of people — at the high school, in Marysville and the neighboring Tulalip Reservation and beyond — needed counseling. Berg was involved with widespread efforts to ensure everyone who needed support received it, as well as the smaller efforts, like changing the tone of the school’s alarm so it wouldn’t sound like it did on the day of the shooting.

Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to persistent challenges in public education. It is produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and City University of Seattle.

· Find out more about Education Lab  

“I’m not sure what will come next, but I plan to practice retirement to see if I can get the hang of it,” Berg, 55, wrote in a letter sent Friday to district families.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Berg served as superintendent for five years in the 11,200-student district. Her passion for students was evident immediately, Marysville School Board President Tom Albright said Monday.

“She’s brought a great team together to lead the district, and she has focused attention on student achievement,” Albright said.

Albright said Berg provided “exceptional leadership” after  the school shooting.

“She had the ability to listen to all people involved, to hear their feelings and to respond with compassion,” Albright said. “She responded with a real sense of ‘we are going to get through this together.’”

She spent a lot of time in front of television cameras as the face of the district, said Jason Thompson, who has served as acting superintendent since January. She also made sure students felt protected from media attention, he added.

Berg wrote in the letter sent Friday that the community will never forget the victims’ names and the impact of that day.

“Our Marysville students are survivors — they are courageous and they inspire us daily,” she wrote.

Berg is also credited with improving graduation rates, providing the SAT to all high-school juniors at no cost to families and focusing on student equity. Many students in the district are from low-income families and have experienced homelessness.

“A school district can’t fix all of this, but we try, and I can speak for our team of phenomenal educators that we will never give up,” she wrote in her letter.

Her resignation took effect Monday evening. An interim superintendent will soon be appointed for the 2018-19 school year, according to the district.