Cincinnati Public Schools’ superintendent Laura Mitchell resigns

Her last day will be June 11.
Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 8:01 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent Catherine Laura Mitchell announced she is leaving the district during a Monday night board of education meeting, according to our media partners at the Enquirer.

Mitchell did not specify where she is headed next, but said she is resigning “to embrace an opportunity that aligns with what I feel is an awakened calling in this season of my life.”

It was “not an easy decision,” Mitchell said, after spending 27 years in the district.

“I have literally spent an entire lifetime in this district,” Mitchell said at the board meeting. “So while not my final destination, as (you) continue on this journey for Cincinnati Public Schools, please know that I will always call and consider Cincinnati Public Schools my home and my district.”

Mitchell’s last day as superintendent will be June 11, she said.

“While we respect your decision to keep your new opportunity private for now, we anticipate our paths crossing again,” school board president Carolyn Jones said.

Mitchell, a Cincinnati native who became CPS superintendent in the summer of 2017, renewed her contract with the district in August for another four years to end on July 31, 2024.

The employment agreement, obtained by The Enquirer through an open records request, says Mitchell makes $252,144 per year. She also receives a $500 monthly allowance to purchase or lease a car and a $600 monthly professional expense stipend.

Mitchell’s successor and CPS’ 28th superintendent will take over a district that has been slowly gaining students in recent years, after decades of falling enrollment.

CPS has roughly 36,000 students, making it the third-largest district in Ohio. Racial minorities make up roughly 3 of 4 CPS students, state data shows. Nearly 4 of 5 are considered economically disadvantaged, according to the data.

The board accepted Mitchell’s resignation Monday night, and each board member responded to her announcement thanking Mitchell for her leadership.

“I would like to say thank you to superintendent Laura Mitchell,” board member Pamela Bowers said. “As a parent, I thank you for your compassion. As a partner, I thank you for your collaboration. As a board member, I thank you for your steady leadership, commitment to moving our district forward (and) maintaining Cincinnati Public Schools as a trailblazer in the state of Ohio. For this I thank you and I wish you well.”

Mitchell, 52, grew up in Bond Hill and graduated from CPS’ School for Creative and Performing Arts, according to the district’s website. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 1991 from Bennett College, a historically black womens’ college in Greensboro, North Carolina. After a short stint teaching in Athens, Georgia, she moved back to Cincinnati to teach in CPS. She later earned her master’s in education administration from the University of Cincinnati and her superintendent certification from Xavier University.

Mitchell has served in a variety of roles at CPS. She taught at the former Central Fairmount Elementary School, was assistant principal and then principal of Westwood Elementary School, worked as a teaching coach and then served as deputy superintendent and chief academic officer from 2005 to 2017. In 2017, Mitchell replaced then-superintendent Mary Ronan, who now serves as superintendent of the Norwood City School District.

The board will name an interim superintendent by May 24, board president Jones said. A nationwide superintendent search will take place this summer.

A detailed timeline regarding the board’s superintendent search is forthcoming, Jones said.

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