Iris T. Metts rose from being a science and math teacher -- a lifelong dream -- to become the first female superintendent of the nation's 19th-largest school district, Prince George's County, Md. She says she relished the prospect of improving schools in the black-led county. Yet this year she has been in the center of a political maelstrom, sacked by the school board, only to be reinstated by the courts.

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