Dr. Mary Jones announced her plans to retire from Ceres Unified School District just after Christmas.
Jones, 61, was employed by CUSD for 18 years.
"It's bittersweet," she said. "I will really miss Ceres. It was a great district to work for."
Jones was deputy superintendent of Educational Services for the past three years.
Mary was assistant superintendent from 2002-10.
She also filled leadership roles at Ceres High (interim principal), Caswell Elementary School (principal) and Mae Hensley Jr. High (assistant principal).
Jones was named ACSA's 2008 Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year.
The latest scores from the California Department of Education's Academic Performance Index detail that Ceres students continue to make academic gains and rank high when compared to students from similar schools.
Approximately five of the eight schools from Stanislaus County that received a 10 as it relates to similar school rankings were from Ceres Unified School District.
Twenty two schools from Stanislaus County ranked at a 9 or 10, including 10 from CUSD.
"I'm sad to see her go," said CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel. "She'll be missed. I really enjoyed working with her for the past 12 years. She's a very sincere, genuine person. She's been driving instruction in the district for over a decade. She's very committed to the students. She made a difference.
"You have to attribute a great deal of the district's academic success to her. She deserves a lion's share of it. She's at the center of it. She worked hard to make sure instruction in the classroom was as good as possible."
"It was great to be able to align my philosophies of learning with Ceres Unified," Jones stated. "I was committed to all students. They should all have access to rigorous learning. I'm going to keep my connection with education in some way."
Denair Unified School District hired Jones as interim deputy superintendent for instruction on June 5.
Mary signed a 67-day contract, which will begin in late August and run through the end of January.
She'll reunite with former CUSD Supt. Walt Hanline. Hanline, DUSD's interim superintendent since April, made the recommendation.
"I worked with Walt previously," Jones said. "He presented me with the idea. It sounds like a fun challenge."
Jones and her husband Rennard will visit kinfolk in Texas, Florida and Maryland in the near future.
They also plan to visit Africa for the first time and make a return trip to Paris.
"I have family in different places across the country," Mary said. "I want to travel and explore other things."