KVOA-TV says John Pedicone announced his plans in an email to staff Wednesday.
Pedicone has been superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District since 2010 and his contract wasn’t scheduled to expire until June 30, 2014.
He has dealt with school closings and been criticized over the ethnic studies program, all while trying to close a gaping budget.
In his resignation letter, Pedicone says his decision to resign didn’t come easily, but he believes it’s in the best interests of the district to so do.
Pedicone confirmed his departure at a hastily called news conference at district headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
TUSD officials say the district board will begin its search for a new leader immediately.