Despite an ongoing internal probe involving the principal, Mason said she has been planning to move for some time to be closer to her daughter, who attends Albany State University.
“I feel good about leaving, and I’m actually excited,” said Mason, who resigned Monday. “I’ve been able to help the students at Laney excel beyond anyone’s imagination. I’ve done my best for Richmond County, and I’ve done my best for the students, who are number one.”
Mason was recruited to Laney in 2010 to implement a three-year, $3 million School Improvement Grant aimed at reforming the school culture and boosting achievement.
In that time, chronic absenteeism dropped from 39 percent in 2009-10 to 3 percent in 2012-13. Achievement jumped in most subjects on End of Course tests, and discipline referrals dropped by 75 percent.
Mason said her priority was the students and she hopes the incoming principal possesses the same dedication to their future.
“I always told my students, ‘Once you leave Laney, the world is waiting for you, and I’m going to prepare you to handle whatever situation you find yourself in,’ ” she said. “Hopefully whoever’s next continues that vision.”
The Richmond County School System began an investigation involving Mason earlier this year, the details of which have not been released.
The executive board of the Richmond County Association of Educators, which includes Mason, also asked Georgia Association of Educators to conduct an audit of their local finances, which is being conducted by an independent public accounting firm, according to GAE legal director Mike McGonigle.