Michelle Rhee became a public face of education reform during her tenure as head of the District of Columbia’s schools, but she found out that reform isn’t always popular, especially when it involves school closings and teacher layoffs, reports the Associated Press. Rhee stepped down Wednesday, several weeks after the man who appointed her, Mayor Adrian Fenty, was defeated in a Democratic primary where Rhee’s celebrated yet stormy tenure was a factor.

“We have agreed that the best way to keep the reforms going is for this reformer to step aside,” she said during Wednesday’s announcement, adding that the decision was one both she and Fenty’s presumed successor, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, agreed on.

Education observers suggested that the fast pace of change and Rhee’s abrupt personality might have contributed to her downfall, though not everyone agreed. Others stressed the importance of getting stakeholders to back sweeping change…

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staff and wire services reports