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Schools chief Resigns


Dec 16, 2006

Dr. Shirley Miles, the 50-year-old former corporate wunderkind who replaced Tempe Union High School’s longtime superintendent James Buchanan in 2004, says she will resign at the end of this school year, having completed the initiatives she undertook at the start of her tenure.

The resignation apparently surprised Governing Board members, who indicated they had been satisfied with Miles’ performance.

Miles says that, upon completion of her current contract June 30, she plans to stay in education but will consider relocating to a more densely populated area in another state.

During her two years on the job, Miles hired four new principals and a variety of administrative staff who she predicted will continue to implement the district’s existing strategic plan.

Although Miles was described by many at the end of her first year as affable and low-key, some felt she was unapproachable and responsible for an elitist attitude they suggested had permeated the district.

Miles came to the job with a business-focused, cost cutting approach after spending several years as a corporate executive—a career she pursued after an injury forced her to end a five-year career with a dance company.

She earned undergraduate degrees in history and business, and then an MBA. Following five years in the corporate world she made a transition into education and ultimately earned a PhD in curriculum.

Despite some early criticism directed primarily at her management style, Miles has been praised for being a strongly policy-driven manager who works under a system of vague and ambiguous policies.

No plans have yet been announced for a search for Miles’ successor.



Photo by David Stone


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