CLINTON —Ashford University has announced the resignation of the school’s President James Chitwood.

Chitwood resigned, effective immediately, in order to pursue new opportunities, according to Jessica Caris, Ashford University director of public relations.

Chitwood came to Ashford’s leadership team in August 2005. Before becoming president at Ashford, Chitwood was state vice president at the University of Phoenix-Minnesota. Previously, he was campus vice president of the University of Phoenix-Milwaukee and held other positions at the University of Phoenix in Detroit.

Ashford has already begun the search for Chitwood’s replacement. Chancellor Jane McAuliffe will assume the position of interim president.

McAuliffe earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, special education and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in special education, all from Arizona State University.

Prior to her appointment at Ashford, McAuliffe was campus president at Argosy University in Sarasota, Fla. Previously she held various positions at Argosy including vice president of academic affairs and was a department head.

She also has served as vice president of academic affairs at American InterContinental University and dean of the college of education and other positions at the University of Phoenix.