Navajo Head Start superintendent dismissed

Investigation into Sharon Singer was ordered last month by U.S. government agency

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Navajo Nation
  • A Navajo officials says the investigation into Sharon Singer covered a period from 2011 to 2013.
  • Navajo Head Start operates 96 centers across the reservation.
  • Singer was named superintendent for the program in August 2012.

FARMINGTON — The superintendent for Navajo Head Start has been removed due to an investigation that allegedly revealed misconduct and misuse of funding.

Late Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that Sharon Singer had been removed from the position on July 28 in a press release from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President.

Singer's attorney, David Jordan, said today his client will file a grievance with the Navajo Nation Department of Personnel Management.

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Tommy Lewis Jr., Department of Diné Education superintendent of schools, said in a telephone interview today that an investigation had been ordered last month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General's Office after allegations of misuse and abuse of funds were filed against Singer.

Lewis said the investigation examined the period from May 2011 to September 2013 and involved Singer's employment at Shonto Preparatory School in Arizona.

He added that after investigators reviewed documentation and spoke with lawyers, the determination was made that Singer had violated tribal policies, and he decided to end her employment with the tribe.

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Lewis declined to answer further questions about the investigation and whether Singer might face any legal ramifications.

The Inspector General's Office was notified about the termination on July 28, he said.

Navajo Head Start operates 96 centers across the reservation, according to the program's website.

Singer was named superintendent for the program in August 2012. She was placed on administrative leave on June 29, according to a June 30 press release from the tribal President's Office.

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Timothy Benally, DODE assistant superintendent of schools, will continue as interim superintendent for Head Start until a replacement is found, Lewis said.

Singer's removal from the program will not hinder the upcoming school year for students, he added.

"DODE is determined to make Head Start stronger and better," Lewis said. "We're determined to excel to the highest level of professionalism and accountability."

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