FARMINGTON — Usually it is the students who make up the tall tales about why they are missing school, but not this time.
Zia Managaytay, a teacher in Tohatchi, is in big trouble after telling a big fib to her former employer.
Managaytay taught in the New York City School District from 2005 to 2007.
In September 2007, she told the district that her daughter had died in a hit-and-run car accident in the Philippines, news Managaytay had heard from her sister, who was on location.
She even went as far as having her sister send an email that backed the story up, according to an investigation by New York school authorities.
"She learned that her child had passed away. Managaytay asserted that she was depressed and needed to take a leave to travel to the Philippines," according to an April 2012 report from the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District.
The district found out, however, that it was all a lie — though not until it was too late.
Efforts to reach Managaytay by telephone on Monday were unsuccessful.
Managaytay said she would take the rest of the year off, and then would put in her resignation at the end of the school year, in October 2007.
It was at that same time that Managaytay had taken a job in Tohatchi at the Ch'Ooshgai Community School, where she now is a special education teacher.
The New York City Department of Education, however, continued to pay Managaytay with Department of Education funds until February 2008.
There has been no explanation as to why she was paid past her resignation date.
Managaytay is now paying back the department $13,591 in monthly $350 payments. The department declined to comment on whether she was up to date on her payments, though the 2012 report did note that she had admitted to everything.
"Managaytay asserted that she felt there was prejudice at PS 171 (the school in New York City at which she worked), but was afraid that if she just resigned, then the DOE would notify Immigration, and she would be deported," the report said.
Managaytay, who is originally from the Philippines, now has a "green card," the report said, and is remorseful about the incident.
While the New York City Department of Education recommended to consider Managaytay ineligible for employment with the department in the future, the Ch'Ooshgai Community School is seemingly pleased to have Managaytay at the school.
The school was unaware, however, of the investigation nor the findings until Thursday when KRQE of Albuquerque aired a segment about the investigation.
"Our organization firmly believes that this issue is between Dr. Managaytay and State of New York City Board of Education," wrote school administrator Frank Shepard in a press release Friday.
Shepard said that Managaytay initially worked for the district in 2002 and 2003 and returned later, in October 2007.
"Dr. Managaytay was hired based upon her educational qualifications," Shepard said.
Managaytay was assessed by the school's human resources department and was interviewed by a panel, Shepard said.
Jenny Kane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4636. Follow her on Twitter @Jenny_Kane.