Debbie Kelley, The GazetteDebbie Kelley, The GazetteMarch 1, 20182min654

Richard Mestas, the head of GOAL Academy High School, who had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, resigned Tuesday, before the findings were handed over to the school board, said attorney Dustin Sparks of Monument.

Sparks, who conducted the investigation, would not say what the matter was about, citing privacy laws governing personnel issues.

However, Sparks said, there were no allegations or evidence of financial mismanagement, criminal wrongdoing and no violations of the charter contract the school has with Falcon School District 49.

GOAL Academy High School is the state’s largest alternative online school, with 3,811 students this year and 25 sites across the state where students go for tutoring and other services. Offices are headquartered in Pueblo, but the school is under the auspices of D-49 in Falcon.

Mestas, a Pueblo native, had been acting as executive director since July 2016 before being named sole finalist for the position in February 2017. He was affiliated with GOAL, an acronym for Guided Online Academic Learning, for more than a decade, when GOAL started under the Cesar Chavez School Network.

Six divisional leaders are overseeing school operations, Sparks said. A committee of three board members was appointed Tuesday night to conduct a search for an interim director, with a goal of completing the process in two weeks.

The process of searching for a permanent CEO has not yet started, Sparks said.


Debbie Kelley, The GazetteDebbie Kelley, The GazetteFebruary 13, 20186min3258

A homegrown proposal that would allow Colorado's community colleges to give students who earn an associate's degree in nursing the chance to obtain an advanced bachelor's degree left the House floor Monday with "an enormous amount of momentum," said Rep. Paul Lundeen, a Republican from Monument who represents portions of El Paso County, where the proposal initiated.