Longtime Santa Ana Unified School District Supt. Al Mijares announced his resignation Friday to take an administrative position with an educational testing organization.
Mijares, who has headed the district for 12 years, will become vice president of the Western region of the College Board, a nonprofit that creates such standardized tests as the SAT.
The 53-year-old superintendent plans to leave his post by late August.
"This is an opportunity that allows me to continue to work on things that I'm passionate about," he said. "It gives me the opportunity to design programs that will improve the achievement rates of all students, including Hispanics, who have historically been underrepresented in most professions and disciplines."
District spokeswoman Susan Brandt said the school board would meet soon to discuss finding a replacement.
Mijares instituted programs in Santa Ana to address low-scoring students with high dropout rates.
During his tenure, voters approved a $144-million bond measure that funded the construction of 11 new schools.
The superintendent also skillfully handled political turmoil on the school board, keeping his job even as residents successfully put forward a ballot measure leading to the 2003 recall of school board member Nativo V. Lopez.
Before coming to Santa Ana, Mijares was a Bakersfield City Schools superintendent, Coachella Unified School District superintendent and a Moreno Valley Unified School District principal.