A former National Superintendent of the Year has been forced out of the top post in a school district south of Eugene.

Krista Parent is retiring after 16 years as superintendent and more than 30 years at the South Lane School District. The American Association of School Administrators named Parent superintendent of the year in 2007.

The South Lane school board announced Parent’s retirement Tuesday night after a closed session on personnel matters.

The Eugene Register-Guard reported that board chair Alan Baas read a statement confirming Parent was leaving, and would work “independently off-site on special projects as needed and requested, and assist in smoothly transitioning the district to new leadership.”

Parent drew heightened concern from district employees, after a handwriting expert said she had “probably” written an anonymous letter sent to board members. The letter defended Parent amid a controversy over her romantic relationship with another South Lane school employee. Parent denies writing the letter.

In a statement provided to the Cottage Grove Sentinel, Parent apologized for her part in the “distraction,” but she also blamed “repeated attacks” against her for eroding faith in her leadership.

“The attacks have been calculated, and as soon as the board and I defend one attack, there is another attack waiting to be launched,” Parent wrote in the statement. “I have repeatedly shared the harassment that I have received with the board.”

The board and Parent both said the outgoing superintendent will work on special projects outside of the district office, until her official retirement July 1.

Assistant Superintendent Kyle Tucker is stepping in as interim superintendent.