Tempe Union High School District Superintendent Shirley Miles will resign at the end of the school year. But the news didn’t come as a shock to some.
On Tuesday, the district released an updated school board agenda in which Miles requested to finish her threeyear contract in June and not pursue an extension.
Miles could not be reached for comment and board president Robin Arredondo-Savage declined to comment until the school board meeting tonight.
Former district board member Mary Frances Lewis said rumors about the superintendent’s contract have been flying for months.
By June 2006, “the handwriting should be on the wall if you didn’t extend your contract at that time,” said Lewis, who served on the board for more than a decade.
In most situations, contract renewals and negotiations happen at the beginning of a superintendent’s final contract year, Lewis said.
In a letter she will read tonight, Miles says “when I accepted the position as Superintendent, I fully intended to make Tempe my home. However it is now my desire to explore other professional opportunities.”
Miles informed principals and administrators of her resignation Tuesday morning, said district spokeswoman Linda Littell.
About a month ago, Miles brushed off questions regarding her future with the district saying she was “happy” and “hadn’t really thought about” it.
“I know you’ve heard a lot of rumors,” Miles said at the time. But “there’s always rumors around evaluation time. I don’t address rumors.”
Contract negotiations and the annual evaluation process occurred simultaneously in October and continued through November.
Around the same time, Miles put her Tempe home on the market, but said she was just looking for a bigger place.
Littell said she’s not sure what opportunity Miles is pursuing and said it will be up to the board to decide what the next step is in finding her replacement.
Finding a new superintendent could be a challenge, however, with proposals to unify school districts in Tempe, Lewis said.
“It’s going to be hard to attract people to a situation when you don’t have something long-term,” Lewis said. “I don’t know that I’d move to a district that I wasn’t sure would be there in 2008.”
Voters will decide in November 2008 whether to unify the three Tempe school districts.
Miles was hired in June 2004 and receives an annual salary of $140,000 plus benefits. She worked in the business sector for 10 years before becoming a school teacher and later, director of human resources at Academy District 20 in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1998.
School board meeting When: 7 p.m.today
Where: District office, 500 W. Gualaupe Road, Tempe