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News release: Investigation under way at Elizabeth Middle School

Nov. 8, 2023


Earlier in this school year, Elizabeth School District administration learned of complaints made last spring by Elizabeth Middle School students. Such complaints require staff members to report immediately under C.R.S. 19-3-304. All school district employees in Colorado have a mandatory responsibility to promptly report matters related to safety and well-being of students, and Elizabeth School District annually trains all staff members on this responsibility. 

In cooperation with law enforcement, district leadership has been conducting an investigation related to the incidents that students brought forward last year. During the course of the investigation, four members of the EMS staff were placed on administrative leave as determined appropriate by the superintendent.

Individuals are sometimes placed on paid leave to protect their and others’ rights in an investigation. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty. Elizabeth School District takes seriously the trust the community has placed in every employee to help protect and educate each student. Upon gathering the facts, the superintendent will determine the final outcome, and further actions will be taken as needed.

As the investigation and determination of next steps continue, Elizabeth High School Assistant Principal Kimberly Runyan will serve as interim principal at EMS. Mrs. Runyan has served the Elizabeth community for five years, making her uniquely familiar to the staff, students, and families at Elizabeth Middle School. Prior to becoming an administrator, Mrs. Runyan was a professional learning specialist in Douglas County School District and, as a 25-year education professional, has taught kindergarten, second and fourth grades at the elementary level and social studies, language arts and several electives at the middle school level. She is committed to continuing the history of excellence at Elizabeth Middle School.  

Mrs. Runyan will be assisted by Mark Carara, a retired principal from Falcon School District 49 in Colorado Springs, and Jim McCoin, a retired athletic director in Colorado Springs District 11. Mr. McCoin, whose children attended Elizabeth Schools, will support EMS’ athletic program to ensure full continuity of activities.  

EMS families were notified via email this afternoon, and staff were informed at a meeting after school. They also received the email sent to families. 

Elizabeth School District will provide further information as soon as possible. Until then, no further comments will be made because the investigation is ongoing.