Central Falls Superintendent of Schools Fran Gallo plans to retire at the end of the school year.
The school board says its members officially accepted her letter of resignation on Tuesday night.
"The Board accepted Dr. Gallo’s decision with deep regret and equally deep appreciation for her eight years of service to the children and families of Central Falls," the board said in a written release announcing that Gallo will step down on June 30th.
Small in stature, with white hair and a sometimes grandmotherly aspect, Gallo quickly became a polarizing figure in Central Falls. She voiced support for charter schools and butted heads early with the Central Falls Teachers' Union.
In 2010, she made national headlines for firing the entire faculty of Central Falls High School. The firings came during negotiations with the teachers' union over a state-ordered school overhaul, which was meant to address a long history low test scores and high dropout rates.
The teachers were later rehired, but many eventually left the school.
Critics said Gallo encouraged a public perception that teachers were to blame for poor student achievement in Central Falls, ignoring the hard realities of poverty and crime that have long plagued the tiny city.
But supporters praised Gallo for improving school culture and raising expectations for students.
Since the overhaul, the city's only high school has made significant progress in reducing drop out rates and has seen some improvements in test scores.
Teachers have reported better relationships with administrators, though some say more work needs to be done, especially on discipline.
In accepting Gallo's letter of resignation, Central Falls School Board Chair Ana Cano-Morales said Gallo leaves the district in better shape than she found it.
"There are no words to truly express how grateful we are for her unwavering commitment to put children, their community, and progress in education front and center of her work,” Cano-Morales said.