SHIPROCK — The acting superintendent for the Central Consolidated School District will continue to oversee the district for the upcoming school year.

Four members of the CCSD Board of Education approved the appointment of Terri Benn to serve as interim superintendent, starting on July 1 and continuing for a year.

Board Secretary Christina J. Aspaas was the sole member to oppose the action during a special board meeting Wednesday in Shiprock.

Benn was principal of Eva B. Stokely Elementary School in Shiprock when she was appointed acting superintendent on April 27.

She was designated after the board accepted Superintendent Colleen Bowman's resignation, effective on June 30, after she and the board did not reach an agreement on a contract. Bowman has been on paid leave since then.

Board President Adam Begaye said there is confidence in Benn's continued service. He expects her to transition well from acting to interim superintendent.

"She has a passion for the school district," he said.

Benn's salary as interim superintendent was set at $125,000, Begaye said.

The contract provides additional benefits such as a district vehicle and fuel card, and the opportunity to earn additional personal and sick leave each month, according to the district.

Renee Lucero, spokeswoman for the district, said Benn's contract as principal ended on June 4, and the position will be advertised soon.

"Ms. Benn is determined to maintain the excellent level of education provided to students at Central Consolidated School District while improving in areas that target student and staff achievement. Other priorities include meeting the needs of all students and school safety," Lucero said.

Board members made their decision after meeting in executive session for about two and half hours.

Benn's appointment was announced in open session, and her contract was approved after it was negotiated in executive session.

She has been an educational assistant, a pre-K teacher, a teacher and an administrator in Kirtland, Newcomb and Shiprock during the 11 years she has been employed by the district.

Benn earned bachelor's and master's degrees, both in elementary education, from the University of New Mexico in addition to a master's degree in educational leadership from New Mexico Highlands University.

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

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