DISD Superintendent Miles 'staying focused' in the face of critics




Posted on November 9, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 10 at 10:05 AM

DALLAS -- DISD Superintendent Mike Miles said he will not back off of his mission after being openly called out by Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price.

Price blasted Miles publicly on Thursday, accusing him of “terrorizing” the district.

Friday, Miles said he is standing his ground.

It has been years since Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price had openly tried to wield his influence at DISD. Thursday in Dallas, that changed.

"In four months, it appears as though everything is wrong with the Dallas Independent School District,” Price said at a DISD school board meeting.

Price had come before the board to call out new superintendent Mike Miles for being, in essence, a bully.

"My problem is, this district seems to be in terror and that is no way to run a district," Price said.

Specifically, he was upset that Miles apparently forced the resignation of Price's ally, long-time and controversial administrator, Shirley Ison-Newsome.

"It concerns me that when you have a 40-year, tenured individual in Dr. Shirley Ison-Newsome all of the sudden disappears from the landscape," Price said.

When Miles took over at DISD last summer, he promised a new level of accountability. His expectations for students, teachers and principals would be high. Now just four months into the job, comes the first test of his resolve.

"My job is to make sure there is an effective teacher in front of every student, and an effective principal at every school,” Miles said.

On Thursday, Price blasted Miles for pushing his reforms too hard. The question now, will Miles blink.

“Look,” Miles said, “I'm going to get criticized from many quarters and that's part of the job. But my job is to stay focused on what we have to do on the teachers and on the students."

Friday morning at a Veterans Day assembly before hundreds of students, Miles, a former Army Ranger, became misty-eyed talking about the most trying time of his life, presenting the American flag to the mother of a dead soldier.

The critics, he said, he can handle.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com