Published May 10. 2012 1:00PM Updated May 10. 2012 11:57PM
Stonington — The Board of Education accepted the resignation of Superintendent Leanne Masterjoseph Thursday night and announced it was forming a search committee to find her replacement.
In her letter to school board Chairwoman Gail MacDonald Thursday morning, Masterjoseph wrote that she has “enthusiastically accepted a new position which will afford me continued opportunities for growth and new learning. It has been my honor to serve the community of Stonington.”
Masterjoseph did not say what the new position is and did not discuss her resignation at Thursday’s meeting. She did not respond to a request for comment during the day.
In her letter to board members, Masterjoseph said the resignation is effective June 30 and “it is with great excitement that I embark upon the next path of my professional and personal journey. Please know that it has been my honor to work alongside you. Thank you for being champions for young people in our community.”
Her resignation ends a 2½-year tenure which has become stormy in recent months as some parents have criticized her handling of the April vacation controversy as well as her alerts about incidents at the high school that they found vague and alarming.
Over the past few weeks, Masterjoseph has been handing out buttons to residents urging them to stand up for youth in the community.
At Thursday’s meeting, several speakers praised Masterjoseph and the work she has done as superintendent.
Resident John Nickerson said Masterjoseph’s “passion for kids and quality schools” was unmatched.
“It will be tough to replace her,” he said.
Former board member Doug Rea told Masterjoseph he is sorry she was leaving.
“I wish you the best. You did some great things here,” he said.
Resident Sue Jones asked the board if a resident would be asked to be a member of the search committee. MacDonald told her that was not likely, as education consultants recommend against it because of the potential that the identity of candidates will become public. She said some candidates are reluctant to apply for jobs when they know there are people on the committee who are not part of the school board.
Masterjoseph replaced Michael McKee, who retired in 2009 after 13 years. She previously served as the assistant superintendent for two years.
Before coming to Stonington, Masterjoseph was an assistant principal in Waterford before working for two years as its K-12 curriculum director. Before that, she worked as a middle school administrator and as an elementary- and middle-school teacher in New York City, New Rochelle and Katonah, N.Y.
MacDonald said Thursday she did not know what Masterjoseph’s new job is.