Kris Cosca, superintendent of the Novato Unified School District, has resigned his position effective June 30, according to a statement issued by the district on Monday.
“It has been a privilege to serve the students, families and staff of the Novato Unified School District and to work in a wonderful community so supportive of their schools,” Cosca said in the statement, issued jointly by district board president Ross Millerick and Mary Jane Burke, Marin’s superintendent of schools.
The board of trustees is expected to accept the resignation during a closed session at a special online meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The district did not give a reason for the decision. Cosca’s resignation comes on the heels of an extraordinary series of challenges and controversies in managing Marin’s largest school district over the last two years.
Those include the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing pressure to reopen schools for in-person learning amid safety and health concerns; the looming threat of a $2.8 million budget deficit; a chaotic and ultimately unsuccessful attempt at closing an elementary school to save money; and, most recently, a dustup over the handling of Millerick’s use of a racial epithet in an online meeting.
Cosca could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Millerick, in the statement, praised Cosca’s contributions over the past six years he has been with the district — first as deputy to former superintendent Jim Hogeboom and then as superintendent after Hogeboom left to head the San Rafael City Schools district.
“Kris has been tireless in his leadership of the district, especially during the unprecedented and challenging period the COVID-19 pandemic presented, just six months into his first year as superintendent,” Millerick said.
“We appreciate that the safety and well-being of our students, staff, teachers and families were always at the forefront of decisions he made during this historic and constantly changing time,” he said.
Millerick could not be reached for comment later Monday on the terms of Cosca’s exit agreement.
Burke, who has been assisting the district in recent weeks to deal with financial issues and the epithet controversy, said she has enlisted Jan La Torre-Derby, a former Novato schools superintendent, as interim superintendent during the transition.
Amie Carter, a former assistant Novato superintendent who left to be an administrator at the Marin County Office of Education, will help La Torre-Derby lead the district until a new superintendent is hired.
“It is a privilege for our office to be able to support Marin’s largest school district,” Burke said. “We shall build upon the solid foundation of outstanding schools, all of which are already doing a great job of serving Novato families.”