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Mount Vernon Agrees With School Superintendent Decision

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MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Mount Vernon residents and parents expressed approval after the school board of trustees voted unanimously to keep interim Superintendent of Schools, Judith Johnson, for one more year.

Johnson was hired on a one-year contract in June 2012, replacing former interim superintendent Waveline Bennett-Conroy, who was serving in place of the suspended Walton Sawyer.

After the vote was made, Johnson emphasized that this really would be her last year working in the district.

“She’s done some truly incredible work under very difficult conditions,” Charlie Heiser said. “I can’t wait to see what she can do with another year as superintendent.”

The interim superintendent has built an impressive resume in her years working in education. As the head of the Peekskill School District from 2001 to 2011, her schools twice earned “most improved” accolades from the State Department of Education. High school graduation rates have also increased dramatically at every district she took the helm at.

In 2008, the state Council of School Superintendents named Johnson as its superintendent of the year. Outside of her work in school systems, Johnson is also a former education official of the Clinton administration.

“The public education system is not doing all it can to educate kids to high standards,” Johnson said when she was appointed. “It seems that there is a direct correlation between poverty and performance, but it doesn’t mean that it cannot be overcome.”

Gary Windgate, who had two children graduate from the district, said that Johnson seems like a strong candidate for the beleaguered district.

“We don’t always have the most resources for all of our children in Mount Vernon, but from the outside, it looks like she can do a lot with a little,” he said. “Things are definitely heading in a better direction.”

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