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Calhan superintendent abruptly quits to 'pursue other opportunities,' officials say

May 2, 2017 Updated: May 2, 2017 at 4:09 pm
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Calhan schools Superintendent Linda Miller sat in on a first grade computer lesson with Kimberly Gordon,far left, Danielle Kasselder, and Alisha Wilson,right Thursday morning. Miller is also the principal for the pre-school through 8th grades. 03/06/09 CAROL LAWRENCE,THE GAZETTE

In her eighth year of running the show in Calhan School District RJ-1, Linda Miller has abruptly quit as superintendent.

In an executive session at its April meeting, the RJ-1 board accepted her resignation and named David Slothower, principal of the high school, as superintendent through the 2017-2018 academic year.

Slothower said Miller left to "pursue other opportunities." He would not elaborate further.

Teachers were told a few weeks ago that Miller was resigning, effective immediately.

Miller did not respond to a request for an interview.

Susan Vanasse, the district's former business manager, said Miller's $105,060 contract was not terminated and is being paid through June 30.

"She didn't do anything wrong; she was able to go somewhere else," Vanasse said. "It was a mutual agreement."

The board recommended Miller be retained for next school year, giving her a positive recommendation and citing her transparency, honesty, networking abilities and other skills.

Board president Maria Herndon did not return phone calls.

Another top administrator in RJ-1 also is leaving. The elementary school principal, Linda Slothower, announced in the district's April newsletter that she intends to finish out the school year and "pursue other opportunities in the field of education."

She reportedly will go to work for another school district in the Pikes Peak region.

She was hired in Calhan in 2001 as a fourth grade teacher, then left and returned in 2013 as principal of Calhan Elementary School.

Enrollment has been declining in the eastern-plains school district for several years, dropping from 510 students in the fall of 2012 to this year's official count of 442 pupils.

This school year, for the first time, there were not enough high school football players to field a team, so Calhan students played on Peyton School District 23's team.

Miller, an Air Academy High School graduate, started her career in education in 1993 as a middle school teacher in Calhan. She became the middle school principal in 2001 and in 2009 was named superintendent of schools. Her two daughters graduated from Calhan High.

She is credited with helping Calhan Elementary School rally from a failing academic status under state rankings a few years ago to a "bright spot" in state education circles this year, drawing other educators to study the model.

She also helped secure state grants through the Building Excellent Schools Today program to replace the school building roof and install air conditioning, energy-efficient lighting and security upgrades.

Advanced Placement English, math, science and social studies classes were added last school year, as a result of a grant from the Colorado Department of Education.

A one-to-one iPad initiative started in the 2014-2015 school year and provides a personal electronic device to every middle and high school student.

Miller is the second superintendent in an eastern El Paso County school district to vacate the post this semester. The board of Ellicott School District 22 in February ousted its leader of five years, Pat Cullen, citing a need for a change in direction.

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