JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County Superintendent Ed Pratt-Dannals met with the media this afternoon after word came down Friday that he and the Duval County school board agreed to part ways when his current contract ends in December.

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Pratt-Dannals, who has been with Duval County Public Schools in various capacities for 36 years, pointed out he wasn't fired and had been talking to board members about retiring.

"It's been a great ride," Pratt-Dannals said Monday; adding his greatest accomplishments included an improving graduation rate and academic gains.

"I am retiring after fulfilling my contract in December of this year. I am not being fired, ousted, resigning," said the superintendent who began his journey in education working with students who had dropped out of school.

SEE ALSO: Statements from Pratt-Dannals and the school board

The school board met last Monday. After conversations and consideration, the board and Pratt-Dannals mutually agreed not to extend his contract another two years based on future goals.

"The board knows what it wants as its vision. We're trying to maintain a world-class system with systemic growth for young people and it was at that point we decided not to extend the Superintendent's contract," said Duval County School Board Chair Betty Burney in an earlier interview.

"The board is looking forward in order to get the leadership we think can take us far beyond where we are now," said Burney.

This comes after the board rated Pratt-Dannals' performance as "acceptable" during the last appraisal. The year before, he was rated "highly effective".

"An enormous amount of responsibility is placed on the shoulders of the Superintendent," said Burney.

In Friday's statement Pratt-Dannals said, "I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, completing my doctorate and exploring other opportunities, including teaching and consulting."

Looking back on the last four years, Pratt-Dannals says the district should be proud that 85% of local schools earned either an A, B or C grade from the state. He also pointed out the district's graduation rate increased by 11% regardless of the formula used to calculate that number.

Burney says that responsibility will now be placed on the shoulders of a new Superintendent. She says the board wanted to make the announcement fairly quickly so a thorough search can begin.

"We know where we want to go and what we want is to be certain, if you close your eyes, any school that you choose, your child will be able to walk in and come out successful," said Burney.

Pratt-Dannals has sevrved as superintendent since November 2007.

Watch First Coast News at 5 and 6 p.m. for more coverage of the superintendent's comments this afternoon.