WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — The Department of Diné Education (DODE) removed Sharon Singer, superintendent of Navajo Head Start, from her position July 28.
The decision to remove Singer came at the conclusion of an investigation by the federal Office of Head Start, in which the investigation found that Singer engaged in egregious misconduct and misuse of Navajo Nation funds.
“Whenever serious allegations are raised by federal funding agencies against any of our employees, we must be diligent in examining the areas of question,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “When the federal program from D.C., which funds Navajo Head Start, notified the Navajo Nation, we responded by asking for documentation. We made sure that we didn’t move forward in accusing any of our employees without any valid basis.”
Begaye said if the Navajo Nation didn’t conduct an investigation into the allegations, federal agencies would have.
“I don’t believe the federal government should impose these types of investigations on sovereign nations, that is the responsibility of the tribe,” Begaye said.
DODE Superintendent of Schools Dr. Tommy Lewis said the Navajo Nation and its children deserve accountability, transparency and good leadership.
“We’re determined to continue to make Navajo Head Start a successful program serving our children,” Lewis said. “We want to make sure that we continue to provide a high-quality educational program and we are determined to have Navajo Head Start function at a higher level of standards, professionalism and accountability. Our children deserve the best.”