DALLAS — Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles has been on the job less than a year, but in that short time he’s endured a firestorm of criticism.
A week ago, Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price sent letters to more than 75 local pastors, likening Miles to Pontius Pilate or "fake Jesus."
The letter was meant to warn churches against listening to Miles, who has been visiting houses of worship to explain his plans for reform in the district.
Then leaders of Dallas Achieves circulated a letter criticizing Miles’ leadership style and accusing him of abandoning the program, which some credit with improving things within the district.
At a news conference outside DISD headquarters Wednesday, NAACP Dallas Chapter president Juanita Wallace compared the district under Miles' leadership to a building going up in flames.
“If a house is on fire, do you wait to see if it's going to burn down, or do you go ahead and start working toward keeping it from burning down?" Wallace asked.
Miles has consistently been under fire from South Dallas community leaders who oppose his plans to replace principals at under-performing schools.
That plan was to be reviewed this week by the DISD Board of Trustees, but has now been delayed for a second time.
Flanked by a small group of supporters, Wallace called on the board to fire Miles.
“If Mike Miles were a coach, he would get fired," she said. "If Mike Miles were a CEO, he would get fired. So what are the trustees waiting for?"
Rev. Gerald Britt has lived in South Dallas all his life. He was the pastor of a church in the area for many years before he began working with the non-profit group City Square.
He can’t remember the NAACP making such a move in the past. Britt said he has met with Miles, and thinks the new superintendent has done a poor job of communicating his vision.
“That being said, I think he’s trying now,” Rev. Britt said. "And I think having recognized to some degree the missteps he’s made in communication, he’s willing to try a new tactic.”
That is, if Miles is given a chance... and the time.
“There aren’t very many of us who could move a battleship like DISD in the amount of time Miles has had to do it," Britt said.
The question now, is: Will Mike Miles get the time he needs to right the ship? Rev. Britt said firing Miles so soon would be an unwise move for both DISD and the City of Dallas.
“It’s really about Dallas, and so for him to fail would be all of our failure," Britt said. "What Dallas would look like firing a superintendent less than a year into his tenure doesn’t paint a pretty picture of us to the rest of the country."