Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Charleston County’s first black and first female superintendent, died late today after a battle with lung cancer. She was 55.

Goodloe-Johnson led the school district from October 2003 until June 2007 before leaving the Lowcountry. Her tenure was marked by a combination of success, failure and controversy.

“She will be missed, and history will prove that Charleston is very fortunate that she came our way,” said School Superintendent Nancy McGinley.

Goodloe-Johnson hired McGinley as the district’s chief academic officer, and McGinley later would become her successor.

Goodloe-Johnson left Charleston to take the superintendent’s job in Seattle. She was fired from that post and most recently worked in Michigan as deputy chancellor for instructional support and educational accountability for the state’s new Education Achievement System.

McGinley called Goodloe-Johnson a nationally respected educator who was considered by many to be a pioneer

“She was strong, and she was courageous at a time when there wasn’t much support for public education in Charleston,” McGinley said.

Read more in upcoming edition of the Post and Courier, and get the latest education updates by following @diette on Twitter.