Interim superintendent introduced during Thursday session

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SHIPROCK — Central Consolidated School District officials continue to work with personnel from the tribe's education department to reinstate the district's contract to operate the Johnson-O'Malley Program.

CCSD board members voted in December to end the subcontract between the district and the Navajo Nation Johnson-O'Malley Program, the entity in the Department of Diné Education that oversees distribution of the federal funding to school districts located on and off the reservation.

The district started working with the tribe last month to reinstate its subcontract for the Johnson-O'Malley Program, which is a federal program that provides supplemental funding and services to eligible Native American students enrolled in public schools.

Schools can use the funding for such programs as culture, language, academics and dropout prevention.

Trudy Grantsen, the multicultural and bilingual supervisor for the district, provided an update about the reinstatement process to board members during a work session on Thursday.

Grantsen said the district is completing its JOM Program application for the 2018-2019 school year, and the document will be presented to the board on May 15.

One result of the meeting in April between CCSD and DODE is that the district will resume its contract for the 2017-2018 school year and receive the remaining amount awarded from the JOM Program for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Grantsen said.

There will be another meeting with the tribe's education department on May 18 in Window Rock, Arizona, she added.

During Thursday's work session, acting Superintendent Terri Benn introduced herself to the board.

Benn became acting superintendent after the board accepted a letter of resignation from Colleen Bowman on April 27.

Bowman submitted her resignation, which goes into effect on June 30, after she and the board did not reach an agreement on her contract. She is using her remaining vacation time until then.

Benn said she has 16 years of teaching experience and has been with the district for five years. She served most recently as the principal for Eva B. Stokely Elementary School in Shiprock.

"My goal as acting superintendent is to ensure all of our students continue to receive the best education that they have been given," Benn said.

In the days since her appointment, she said she has been introducing herself to staff members throughout the district.

"The goal for everything that we do is for student success," Benn said.

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

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