The principal selected to lead one of the city's top public high schools after an embarrassing cheating scandal is stepping down after four years. Stuyvesant High School principal Jie Zhang wrote in an email to the school community: "After being an educator for over 30 years, I have decided to retire from the New York City Department of Education, effective July 21, 2016. This difficult decision was made following an offer to serve as the superintendent of the New York Military Academy, a private boarding school in Upstate New York."

Zhang took over after longtime Stuyvesant principal Stanley Teitel retired in August 2012. Earlier that summer, it turned out students had been cheating for Regents exams by trading texts. The cheating ring rocked the school, though graduates have said that cheating was pretty commonplace. Zhang said at the time of her appointment, "My top priority is to create a positive school culture that ensures integrity and zero tolerance for cheating."

However, some teachers have had their issues with her, complaining about her hiring allegedly unqualified friends to take over administrative positions and inadequately staffing classes, forcing teachers to take on extra classes. Alumni have questioned her handling of alumni relations. And last year, the number of students who were semi-finalists at the Intel Science Search dropped to just two, after 11 in 2014.

The New York Military Academy, which Donald Trump attended (along with Stephen Sondheim and John A. Gotti Jr.), has had financial problems in the past few years. The NY Times reports:

Grappling with bankruptcy, the military academy was bought at auction in September for $16 million by a nonprofit conservation group run by Vincent Tianquan Mo, a real estate entrepreneur based in China and Great Neck, N.Y. The school, which once had an enrollment of 500, had just 10 students this past semester and expects 100 this coming fall. By contrast, Stuyvesant has 3,000 students.

Jin Xu, secretary of the academy’s board of trustees, said the school had hired Ms. Zhang because it felt she could recruit a top-flight staff that would in turn bring in first-rate students, half of them foreign and half local.

“This is a chance to turn this school into one of the best schools in the country,” Mr. Xu said. “She’s a world-class educator.”

Zhang told the Times that "at 56 she was eligible to retire with a sizable pension that she could add to her salary at the academy, which she said was comparable to her current Stuyvesant salary of $157,000." Also, since the owner is from China and the expected student body will likely include Chinese students, she said, "I always dreamed for years of doing something that combined the two cultures. For the first time my cultural background and language will be part of my job."

Zhang's email to the Stuy community noted her heritage, "My journey in the United States began on July 21, 1985, when I landed at JFK for the first time to pursue my American dream. This date is so significant to me that I have chosen it to close the book on one chapter of my career and begin another. As a 'red scarf girl' who spoke no English at the age of 25, I could never have imagined my first job as a teacher at Rikers Island or, especially, that I would one day be the principal of Stuyvesant High School. I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the years, especially the Stuyvesant family for helping me through the past four years as your principal. This has been one of the most challenging, yet most rewarding experiences, and I will always look back at Stuyvesant with a smile."

Stuyvesant's graduation is June 22; the final day of classes is June 28.