Cassandra W. Jones, the school district's interim chief academic officer since August, confirmed yesterday that she will step down June 30, when her contract expires.

"There's a new administrative team coming in," Jones said following the School Reform Commission meeting.

"I'm working very hard with her to make sure we're doing a transition that is smooth, that misses no beats."

Incoming Chief Executive Officer Arlene Ackerman is to take the helm of the 167,000-student district June 1.

Jones' departure marks the first of what is believed to be many personnel changes under Ackerman.

Ackerman previously ran the school districts in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Attempts by the Daily News to reach Ackerman last night were not successful.

Jones, who is responsible for the curriculum, testing and all other academic-related matters, spent 30 years with the district before retiring.

Several years ago she returned as a consultant before being named interim chief academic officer last summer.

Jones was among many who applied for the CEO position earlier this year, but the reform commission tapped Ackerman. *

- Mensah M. Dean