Rochester school superintendent resigns amid plagiarism allegations
His resignation will be effective June 30, 2021.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Rochester Public Schools Superintendent Michael Muñoz resigned Tuesday night, Feb. 2, on the heels of multiple instances of plagiarism coming to light.
The school board went into a closed session to discuss a personnel matter during its regular board meeting. Once members came out of the closed session — shortly after 11 p.m. — they unanimously voted to approve the resignation, effective June 30, 2021. That means Muñoz will serve out the rest of the school year in his position. Muñoz began his role in July 2011.
David Jiang, a 2015 Century High School graduate, had started a petition calling for Muñoz to resign. The movement gained more than 1,000 signatures, and Jiang sent it to the school board prior to Tuesday's meeting.
"I was ecstatic because that means they really had heard our concerns — the community's concerns," Jiang told Forum News Service following Muñoz's resignation. "The message is clear: Rochester deserves better."
The first instance of plagiarism arose when Muñoz wrote a Thanksgiving letter that included sections from multiple different sources. Once that came to light, Muñoz apologized for his actions . The school board suspended him for five days and said he would have to go through a reconciliation process.
Rochester Public Schools Communications Director Heather Nessler said a letter from the district's attorney, as well as the details of the reconciliation process, would be made available to the public. As of Jan. 25, neither of those documents had been released.
More instances of plagiarism came out in late January , including at least two instances where Muñoz plagiarized graduation speeches he gave to seniors and their families.
"We do take it very seriously ... we're not ignoring this," school board Chairwoman Jean Marvin said about the plagiarism allegations Monday, Feb. 1. "We know what our responsibility is...we have a responsibility to ensure that the decisions we make are in the best interest of the district."
Munoz's salary is $228,300.