Two more DISD cabinet chiefs leave, Miles reorganizes senior structure

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Updated Friday, Jun 21 at 10:08 AM

DALLAS -- Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles announced major changes to his senior level cabinet members Thursday, including the departure of two cabinet chiefs.

Miles has also reorganized the district’s academic operations.

Human resources chief Charles Glover and operations chief Kevin Smelker are both leaving the district, according to a district news release sent out Thursday morning.

Glover has accepted a position with Bellwether Education Partners. It is a non-profit group.

Smelker came to DISD along with Miles last July from their previous school district in Colorado Springs. He is retiring and returning to Colorado Springs.

“Some would say it looks like King Arthur is losing the knights of the round table," said Ron Price, a former DISD trustee.

Price said he was a member of the DISD board of trustees for 12 years and through seven superintendents. He says so much turnover in the top ranks is unprecedented. Six cabinet members have left DISD in just the past 11 months.

“You must have stability at the top level of any school district, not just Dallas, but any school district in the nation," Price said.

There are only seven cabinet position. The chief of staff position has been vacated twice, and Miles eliminated it Thursday.

“When you can’t keep your transformational staff that is charged with culture change, that’s really a big problem," said Allen Gwinn, a district watchdog.

Gwinn said despite a lot of opposition to Miles’ reforms, the superintendent has recently gained some important allies.

“He’s starting to get an awful lot of positive built up here," Gwinn said. “He’s got Dallas business leaders. He’s got political leaders. He’s got civic leaders and activists who, historically, have opposed that seat.”

Price said he believes eventually the board will use Miles missteps to make a business decision that could include letting him go.

“Just look at the corporate world; J.C. Penny released their CEO. American Airlines, they felt like they made a bad decision, and replaced their CEO,” Price said.

Board President Eric Cowan sent this statement to News 8:

"The DISD Board of Trustees appreciates the hard work Kevin Smelker and Charles Glover put in during this past school year. We wish them the best of luck. We believe a strong, stable executive team is critical to the success of the district. We expect the administration, with these new cabinet members, to carry on with the mission of Dallas ISD."

Gwinn said he believes Miles has bought himself time with new alliances, and just has to hang in there a little longer to make the changes he promised.

As a result of the reorganization, four current DISD staff members have been named to senior-level positions.

Here are some of the changes under the reorganization:

  • There is no longer a chief of staff position. That position was left vacant by Jerome Olberton, who was recently indicted on federal charges. He is accused of taking kickbacks in his former job in Atlanta Public Schools.
  • Dr. James Terry is the new chief financial officer. He was serving as interim chief financial officer.
  • Carmen Darville is the new chief of human capital management. She was human resources executive director.
  • Gray Salada is new chief technology officer. He was the assistant superintendent of technology services.
  • Wanda Paul is the new chief of operations. She was executive director of operations.

“We are thrilled to have such strong candidates inside the district now to lead the efforts of their predecessors and maintain the continuity of our work and its alignment to the Destination 2020 Transformation plan," Miles said in the release. “This opportunity also gives us the chance to reevaluate our needs and structure. To that end, I believe it is important to diversify the senior administrative team with internal talent that has served the district with distinction.”

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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