Fullerton School District Supt. Duncan Johnson resigned this week to pursue a job assisting the professional development of school administrators.
Johnson, 59, turned in his resignation letter Tuesday, and said the county's financial crisis had nothing to do with his decision to leave.
"When the bankruptcy dilemma hit, I thought long and hard whether it was appropriate for me to leave," he said. "But I finally decided that if I wait to move when there is no crisis, I would never leave."
Johnson, who has been superintendent for 15 years and earns $88,800 a year, said he is trying to get a job with the Assn. of California School Administrators.
"I've had a rich and tremendously rewarding career here and I want to be active in professional development of other administrators in a variety of ways," Johnson said.
He said he also plans to continue his volunteer work with the school district, the city and a number of local organizations.
Johnson began his education career in 1958 as an English teacher in Los Angeles. Then from 1962 to 1965, he was an English teacher at Buena Park and Troy high schools in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District. He became an administrator in 1966 as assistant principal at Troy High School.
Johnson became principal at Nicolas Junior High School in 1971, assistant superintendent in 1976 and deputy superintendent in 1978 before becoming superintendent in 1980.
In his resignation letter to the school board, Johnson wrote: "Looking back, I relish and deeply appreciate 36 years of moments shared with students, parents and colleagues. . . . As I look forward, I am hopeful that I will have opportunities to be active in new ways in education and in our community."
Johnson's last day will be June 30. The search for his replacement will begin soon, officials said.