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Originally published Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 4:59 PM

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The mixed record of Seattle school Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson

The Seattle School Board undoubtedly finds itself at a crossroads as it prepares Wednesday to decide the superintendent's fate. The only options are Maria Goodloe-Johnson's resignation or dismissal.

IN the nearly four-year tenure of Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, this page has been a fan, a defender, a critic, even an apologist.

We saw qualities in the superintendent that could help her survive and thrive in a setting that chews up and spits out schools chiefs in an average of 18 months.

We bet on her steely resolve to pull Seattle Public Schools from the seesaw of competing constituencies toward systemic culture change.

We like some of the results of her tenure, including more high school college-prep classes, more college-bound students and the transparency offered by new districtwide report cards.

But the good cannot outweigh the bad. In all honesty, the scales have been tipping in the wrong direction for some time.

The biggest and most painful changes for district families, closing schools and implementing a new assignment plan were handled clumsily and without care of the emotional upheaval.

The School Board undoubtedly finds itself at similar crossroads as it prepares Wednesday to decide the superintendent's fate. The only options are her resignation or dismissal.

Goodloe-Johnson has a tin ear and abysmal communication skills. Even when she was right — for example, closing several small and struggling schools — the perception that she had blundered was louder and clearer than her own voice.

She misled the School Board and the public about the state of college-readiness among students. Racial and socio-economic disparities driving education reform are appalling enough; Goodloe-Johnson did not have to use incorrect statistics.

Goodloe-Johnson garnered praise for bringing in fresh, top-level staff. The fact that several layers of administrators knew an employee was abusing the district's small-business opportunity program shows the praise was premature.

Two years ago, this page joined many voices in urging her to return a performance bonus until she could earn it.

In view of the 18-month national average shelf life of a superintendent, Goodloe-Johnson survived longer than we thought she would.

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