KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo community is scratching their heads Tuesday, wondering what led to the abrupt resignation of Kalamazoo Public Schools superintendent, Rita Raichoudhuri.
Her resignation came during Monday night's board of education meeting, following a closed session.
Raichoudhuri's seat was empty during the vote to approve retention bonuses for all KPS staff; a proposal long supported by Raichoudhuri. Her seat remained empty when the board voted to pass her resignation, effective immediately.
News Channel 3 reached out to the board's president and vice president, as well as the district's spokesperson to find out what led to the resignation and what the process will look like to find Raichoudhuri's replacement. We have not gotten an answer.
"There’s worry that this move is the result of internal politics and differences in leadership style, rather than a decision that was made in the best interest of the district and its students," Kalamazoo Education Association (KEA) and Kalamazoo Support Professionals (KSP) said in a joint statement.
Not all are upset with the decision, though.
In her last board of education meeting on Dec. 8, Raichoudhuri defended herself after Kalamazoo's NAACP president claimed there has been an exodus of black staff under Raichoudhuri's leadership and a lack of community involvement.
"Despite Dr. Rita having been here for over two years it is rare that you see her out and involved with the Kalamazoo community. It does not appear that she understands Kalamazoo and the importance of community relationship, dismantling systemic racism, building educational equity and equality. We must hold the Kalamazoo public school board accountable, to hold this administration accountable as black staff and students," said Wendy Fields, Kalamazoo's NAACP president.
Raichoudhuri responded by listing some of hirings and promotions that included black individuals.
"I wanted to put my hiring practices out here for everybody to know so that I can shed some light on the allegations that you’ve been hearing that has been made on this board floor several times and it was time for me to advocate for myself," Raichoudhuri said.
In the meantime, the board has appointed Cindy Greene to serve as interim superintendent. Greene previously worked for the district for 40 years. 17 of those years she served as assistant superintendent, according to the board.