Colleen Bowman's tenure will end June 30

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FARMINGTON — A discussion about Superintendent Colleen Bowman's evaluation during a special school board meeting today resulted in her resignation.

Bowman submitted her resignation after the board met for approximately three hours inside the Shiprock Board Room.

Today was the second time board members had met to conduct the evaluation. They tabled the matter on March 28.

Board President Adam Begaye said in a telephone interview Bowman submitted her resignation after she and the board did not reach an agreement on her contract. Begaye declined to comment further, citing it is a personal matter.

He said the board accepted Bowman's resignation, which will go into effect on June 30. She will use her remaining vacation time until then.

Terri Benn, principal for Eva B. Stokely Elementary School in Shiprock, was named acting superintendent.

Begaye said he abstained from voting. Board Vice President Sheldon Pickering and members Charlie Jones Jr. and Ruthda Thomas voted in favor of accepting Bowman's resignation.

Board Secretary Christina J. Aspaas voted against the action, Begaye said.

"We wish Dr. Bowman the very best on her endeavors. … As a school district, we'll continue to serve the students," he said.

Aspaas said in a telephone interview that she voted against accepting Bowman's resignation because there was no evidence to support a low performance evaluation.

"All the numbers and data showed Dr. Bowman was doing outstanding work," she said, adding the district had been improving under the current administration.

"I believe it was a bad decision for our community and for our kids," Aspaas said.

Bowman's contract was in effect through June 30 at an annual salary of $125,000, according to The Daily Times archives.

She was appointed to the superintendent's post in January 2017 after serving as interim superintendent since August 2015.

Bowman's appointment came after board members approved a $110,000 buyout for the contract of former superintendent Don Levinski.

Bowman worked for the district for about 12 years before taking on the superintendent position.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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