BARSTOW • School district officials announced Tuesday Superintendent Susan Levine has tendered her resignation and will no longer oversee the district.

Though the district staff were notified of her resignation via e-mail Friday, the district did not release the information to the public until Tuesday's school board meeting after the board accepted it. Levine will be taking an academic leave until her contract ends June 30, 2012.

During a phone interview Levine said she resigned after she learned from the school board that her contract  would not be renewed. School Board President Mary Rodriguez said though the board didn't vote on her contract "per se" it was a unanimous decision not to renew her contract.

Rodriguez said she could not discuss why the board decided not to renew Levine's contract.

Many at the meeting Tuesday night discussed their disappointment with Levine's departure.

"This is a less than advantageous solution to whatever concerns you may have had with Susan," Barstow Education Association President Candy Michaelson said to the board. "This is a loss for students. This is a loss for the district. This is a loss for the town of Barstow."

Michaelson said she felt Levine was the best superintendent she's worked with in the last 20 years.

"She was our cheerleader," Michaelson said. "She was very approachable. She knew staff by name. She remembered janitors' names."

The news came as a shock to many at the meeting and Levine herself.

"I am disappointed as well," Levine said. "I don't want a lot of frenzy about this. People just need to keep moving forward to the kids."

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Jeff Malan will oversee her former responsibilities as acting superintendent.

"I know Jeff is going to do a good job," Levine said. "He's knowledgeable. He'll do good things for kids."

Levine began working with the district as assistant superintendent of personnel services in 2006. She took over as interim superintendent in June of 2008 and finally took the office Feb. of 2009.

Levine said the average tenure of a superintendent is 18 months.

"I did better than that," she said, chuckling.

With her time off Levine said she will be finishing her dissertation for a doctorate in education from the University of Redlands. She said for the first time in 27 years she's able to go grocery shopping during business hours.

"I've always wondered what people do at 9:25 in the morning," Levine joked.

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(760) 256-4123 or klucia@desertdispatch.com