Seattle School District superintended Maria Goodloe-Johnson announced at Wednesday's school board meeting that she's resigned from the board of the testing company that was recently awarded a contract by the school district.
The Seattle school board awarded Portland-based nonprofit Northwest Evaluation Association $370,000 to provide Seattle's Measurement of Academic Progress (MAP) test in 2009-10, and a $453,000 contract for tests for the 2010-2011 school year. Goodloe-Johnson joined the test company board in 2008. Many have viewed this as a conflict of interest. But perhaps the biggest embarrassment was that Goodloe-Johnson did not disclose her board position until after the testing system was approved for purchase by the board. In fact, Goodloe-Johnson recommended the MAP testing in public documents without saying anything about her connection.
At Wednesday's meeting, Goodloe-Johnson, who sat on the nonprofit's board for two years as an unpaid member, said that she didn't view her board position as "a conflict of interest," and that it's not one under Washington law, but she felt "that the distraction is not worth it." The school board did not comment on Goodloe-Johnson's announcement publicly. The board hires the superintendent and he or she reports directly to them.
The Seattle teachers union, the Seattle Education Association, listed Goodloe-Johnson's position on the board as a conflict of interest when they voted to have no-confidence in her last month. "It's good that she is hearing concerns of educators in Seattle and taking account of what they think of her leadership," said union vice president Jonathan Knapp. "There would have been more confidence in her had she disclosed that she had this connection and nevertheless recommended the services of this company. In my opinion that's not good practice."