Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz has resigned amid accusations that he plagiarized school-related communications including graduation speeches and letters to staff.
The school board voted unanimously late Tuesday evening to accept Muñoz's resignation, which is effective June 30.
Board members did not discuss the matter publicly either before or after the vote, which came nearly six hours into the board's regular meeting and followed a closed session that was not noted on the meeting agenda.
In a statement issued through a district spokeswoman, board members said the vote "brings a conclusion to concerns that have been raised and also provides an opportunity for a planned and orderly transition to new leadership," adding that the board will begin a search for a new superintendent immediately.
The district also provided a statement from Muñoz, in which he apologized "for making choices that have set a poor example for our students and have caused a distraction from our mission."
Muñoz was previously disciplined by the board in December after he apologized for plagiarizing most of a Thanksgiving letter he sent to school staff members.
The board suspended Muñoz for five days and directed him to work on a "public restorative practices plan" with two board members.
That plan had not yet been completed by late January, when a district parent shared additional findings of Muñoz's plagiarism with local media organizations.
The additional allegations involved recent graduation speeches, an April letter to families about COVID-19 and a September tweet about visiting school classrooms during the pandemic.
All of the communications, like the Thanksgiving message, contain multiple sentences or paragraphs that appear to be lifted directly from speeches, letters and other communications of educators from other parts of the country. None include attribution of the original source material.
Muñoz has led the Rochester school district since 2011. Under his contract, he is paid $228,300 annually and had been set to remain with the district through June 2022.
In his statement, Muñoz said he made his resignation effective in June, rather than immediately, to ensure that the district can continue with the "critical work" of getting students back into classrooms during the pandemic, building new schools and hiring new district leaders for equity-related positions.
"In the next few months, we will need to have important boundary discussions, make major budget decisions and finalize staffing for next year," he said. "A disruption in district leadership now would hinder our district's ability to accomplish these essential tasks."
Erin Golden • 612-673-4790