Share story

Maria Goodloe-Johnson in 2009. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Maria Goodloe-Johnson, former superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, has died.

A Seattle Public Schools attorney got a note at about 4:30 p.m. saying Goodloe-Johnson, 55, passed away about an hour before, said district spokeswoman Teresa Wippel.

Her death “was a total shock to everybody here,” Wippel said.

Goodloe-Johnson was fired from her position in Seattle after a financial scandal shook the district.  After leaving here, she worked in Detroit as the top academic officer for the Education Achievement System, a district formed to focus mainly on Detroit’s failing schools.

A statement released by the Seattle school district’s public information office stated in part:  “All of us at Seattle Public Schools are saddened to learn of the death today of our former Superintendent, Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

“We are grateful for her years of service to Seattle Public Schools and her efforts during her four-year tenure here to put our students on the path to academic success. The fact that we have seen consistent improvements in student academic achievement is a testament to her leadership.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband Bruce and daughter Maya.”

Wippel said she didn’t know what led to Goodloe-Johnson’s death.

Update 8:30 p.m.: Goodloe-Johnson had recently been hospitalized with cancer, according to a friend and colleague.