Southern Connecticut State University President Cheryl J. Norton has requested a sabbatical leave starting in June and will retire next year, she announced today.

“After much thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision that for both personal and professional reasons it is time for me to move on,” Norton said in a message released to the campus in New Haven. She said she plans to use the sabbatical to do research on elementary and secondary school reform.

Norton, the first woman to head Southern, came to the university in 2004 from Metropolitan State College in Colorado, where she had been provost. “It has been a privilege for me to be president of Southern for almost six years now,” she said in her announcement. “The excellence of our faculty, the professionalism of our staff and the vibrancy of our students make this a university to be proud of. I have learned much from our campus community, and I believe that together we have helped Southern make great strides as an institution.”

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