Carol Johnson, who announced last week that she will retire as Boston schools superintendent at the end of the school year, is a thorough professional and a thoroughly decent person. That combination served Boston. Test scores rose, graduation rates increased, and dropout rates improved during her six years at the helm. Her calm demeanor helped to smooth the way for a new school assignment plan that left proponents of both neighborhood schools and school choice feeling more confident about the future. Johnson delights in the accomplishments of young people. She broke down barriers between district and charter schools because her love of the city’s schoolchildren doesn’t have anything to do with a labor contract or school governance agreement.
Johnson made her share of administrative mistakes over the years. But she faced each one bravely, earning the loyalty of her staffers. “I don’t blame down,’’ she said.
With characteristic honesty, Johnson admits that she will leave Boston with some goals undone: a new master plan for facilities; the recruitment and training of more minority teachers; and upgrades to the quality of vocational education. She couldn’t do it all in six years. But she accomplished a lot for the city’s children. And she will leave Boston with her good name intact.