Former Seattle superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, 55, dies

December 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 34 Comments

(October 2010 WSB photo, taken during meeting @ West Seattle Elementary)
Former Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson has died at the age of 55. While we were at today’s School Board work session (report to come) when the news started circulating, no statement was made there; this has since been e-mailed by the district public-affairs office:

All of us at Seattle Public Schools are saddened to learn of the death today of our former Superintendent, Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

We are grateful for her years of service to Seattle Public Schools and her efforts during her four-year tenure here to put our students on the path to academic success. The fact that we have seen consistent improvements in student academic achievement is a testament to her leadership.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to her husband Bruce and daughter Maya.

Maya is just 8; she was born when Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was 47. A report from Charleston, South Carolina, where she served as superintendent before her Seattle tenure – trailblazing as that district’s first black and first female superintendent – says she died from lung cancer. It’s been a year and nine months since the school board here – whose president at the time was West Seattleite Steve Sundquistvoted to let her go.


  1. My heart goes out to Maya and the rest of the family.

    Comment by mamaof2 — 7:03 pm December 5, 2012 #

  2. Condolences to Dr. Goodloe-Johnson’s family.


    Especially little Maya. Same age as I was when my mom died… :-(



    Comment by miws — 7:12 pm December 5, 2012 #

  3. My prayer goes out to the family ,you will truly be missed here at the Charleston County Sschool District .

    Comment by angela — 7:37 pm December 5, 2012 #

  4. That is really sad. Thoughts and prayers to her family and especially her young daughter.

    Comment by kayo — 7:45 pm December 5, 2012 #

  5. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.

    Comment by Lisa — 7:53 pm December 5, 2012 #

  6. That is really sad. I am thinking of her family.

    Comment by Bonnie — 8:17 pm December 5, 2012 #

  7. Her family has been through turmoil. How sad. She was not a good fit for our school district, but I wonder if she was dealing with health issues while in Seattle. I feel like this is a lesson in compassion for all of us somehow.

    Comment by Evergreen — 8:46 pm December 5, 2012 #

  8. She had been sick for a year.

    Comment by Lisa — 9:13 pm December 5, 2012 #

  9. I so agree that this is a lesson in compassion. My heart aches for her family – her little girl, her husband…I feel bad and a reminder for me to be mindful of what I say, what I think, the assumptions I’ve made…Rest in Peace, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson.

    Comment by EssAre — 9:44 pm December 5, 2012 #

  10. Wow! I am so saddened to hear of her loss. Praying for her family. Hopefully, in honor of her being our 1st African-American superintendant, something special will be named after her here in Charleston to show respect for that accomplishment!!

    Comment by Alishia — 9:53 pm December 5, 2012 #

  11. I am so saddened to hear of her loss. Praying for her family. Hopefully, in honor of her being our 1st African-American superintendant, something special will be named after her here in Charleston to show respect for that accomplishment!!

    Comment by Alishia — 9:56 pm December 5, 2012 #

  12. School Boards aren’t known for their compassion, and also like most boards are never really accountable.
    But….they are very judgmental and quick to point fingers at others.

    We never know what is going on in peoples lives and should never assume.
    I am sorry that Seattle wasn’t a positive experience for her….she certainly tried.

    Comment by tricia — 11:04 pm December 5, 2012 #

  13. The world has just lost an educational pioneer. My heart is sadden.

    Comment by BB — 4:37 am December 6, 2012 #

  14. It was a horrible loss. We knew she was sick for a little over a year. And Maya wont’ be 8 until closer to the end of December.

    Comment by sad — 5:41 am December 6, 2012 #

  15. God Bless … yes, she certainly tried! … and I cared about her … God be with her family.

    Comment by ME — 6:25 am December 6, 2012 #

  16. SHE TRIED HER BEST. but unfortunately she had no idea the shark pit that she would be working in. condolences to her family.

    Comment by Robert — 7:45 am December 6, 2012 #

  17. I love the sudden outpouring of compassion. How many people vilified her on this same blog last year. FICKLE

    Comment by WsEd — 8:20 am December 6, 2012 #

  18. We here in Charleston,SC are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. She was a great superintendent for Charleston County schools, and a wonderful advocate for our children. To little Miss Maya and Mr. Bruce Johnson my thought and prayers are with you.

    Comment by Laurice — 8:42 am December 6, 2012 #

  19. I knew Maria professionally and socially when we both lived in Corpus Christi, TX. She and I are members of the same sorority. I am EXTREMELY saddened to hear of her death! I have been praying for Maria since another CC soror told me of the diagnosis. This is CERTAINLY not the outcome I hoped for/ prayed for/ expected; but God is sovereign, and in the midst of our tears we know that it is well.

    Comment by Dr. B — 11:22 am December 6, 2012 #

  20. I am saddened by the death of Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. My heart breaks for her family. I am sure that she is finally at peace. Unfortunately, she was not at peace during her employment as superintendent in several school districts. They sing her praises now. I still wear the bracelet she distributed to teachers that says “HOW ARE THE CHILDREN”. May her soul find rest at last.

    Comment by Patricia — 11:50 am December 6, 2012 #

  21. I think it worth noting that you can disagree/dislike a person’s professional work and still see him or her as a person.

    Many of us did not agree with the direction and tone during her work in SPS.

    But it was clear she loved her husband and adored her daughter (as well as being devoted to her mother).

    Sympathies to her family. Cancer is a terrible disease.

    Comment by Melissa Westbrook — 12:45 pm December 6, 2012 #

  22. My condolences to her family. I am very sorry for their loss. Whatever reforms she may have attempted, I hold her responsible for the glaring corruption and financial mismanagement that occurred on her watch.

    Comment by carol — 1:00 pm December 6, 2012 #

  23. Well said Melissa Westbrook and Carol. While I am sure Mrs Goodloe Johnson tried her best, history has shown that her term left our school district worse off than when she inherited it.

    I feel awful for the husband and daughter she leaves behind, she was far too young to leave this world.

    Comment by Use Common Sense — 5:07 pm December 6, 2012 #

  24. My prayers are with the family. She was a beautiful person, mother and wife. My heart goes out to her little girl and husband.

    Comment by A sad person — 6:02 pm December 6, 2012 #

  25. The family is in my prayers.I am very sorry for their loss.

    Comment by Ms. Kidd — 6:10 pm December 6, 2012 #

  26. @Carol do you really think your comments are appropriate? Her family could be reading these post and they are probably not interested in your opinions on her work ethics.

    Comment by disgusted@carol — 8:35 pm December 6, 2012 #

  27. @Carol and the rest of you negative people in Seattle do you really think your comments are appropriate? Her family could be reading these post and they are probably not interested in your opinions on her work ethics.

    Comment by disgusted@carol — 8:41 pm December 6, 2012 #

  28. Disgusted@carol the forum may not be the best for criticism of the former superintendent. Carol is however voicing the opinion of many. When you assume a leadership position of this stature and abuse your post it will follow you even past ones life. Gen. John Stanford also died prematurely of cancer, was a great leader, strategist, mentor, and provider for the youth in Seattle. The contrast is vivid. I don’t think they will be naming a school after the more recently departed.

    Comment by WsEd — 11:20 pm December 6, 2012 #

  29. What a wonderful educator/leader! A big loss in public education. I left CCSD when people were quick to judge her. The sister stood the test of time,and for that I respected her more.

    May GOD strenghten her family at this time.

    Comment by Dorothy Jackson — 3:19 pm December 7, 2012 #

  30. Blessings to her Husband, daughter, brother and other family members. God be with the entire Goodloe-Johnson Family.
    The Clair Memorial United Methodist Church family – Omaha, NE

    Comment by Clair Church — 8:04 pm December 7, 2012 #

  31. To Dr. Goodloe-Johnson’s family, I give you my deepest condolences. She was the Superintendent in CCSD when I was still in Charleston. I remember her. This was just a big shock to me. My prayers goes out to the bereaved family. Rest In Peace Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson. Thank you for your labor. <3

    Comment by Cherry Mae — 9:35 pm December 7, 2012 #

  32. To Bruce, Maya,and the entire Goodloe-Johnson family. Our prayers are with you during this most difficult period of time. We reach out to you for the blessings,fond memories, and good times with our dearest Maria.

    Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, who served for a short period of time as deputy chancellor of instructional support and educational accountability until her untimely death, was an academic professional and gentle spirit who helped to successfully launch the new statewide school district in Michigan to close the academic achievement gap of students attending some of the lowest performing schools in the state.

    On behalf of the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, we sing the greatest praise for her contributions. And, on behalf of her Michigan sorors and friends, we are better off because of her fellowship. We are glad to have been part of her life.


    Assistant Chancellor
    Education Achievement Authority of Michigan.

    Comment by judith — 6:01 am December 8, 2012 #

  33. To Bruce and Maya, my prayers are with you both. I am sorry for your loss.
    Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was a strong leader. I am thankful to have worked for her and to worship with her.
    God be with you and Maya.
    Sam J. G.

    Comment by Sam G. — 11:25 pm December 8, 2012 #

  34. I met her in person and I admired her good characters and her strength. She will be missed.

    Comment by Hibo — 12:26 pm December 10, 2012 #

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