Uncut: As predicted, storms gather around DISD superintendent

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by JOHN McCAA

Bio | Email | Follow: @johnmccaa

WFAA

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 7:36 PM

It's a been a tough week for DISD Superintendent Mike Miles, but if you know Dallas, it comes as no surprise.

Miles can be autocratic... but Dallas politics is, if anything, predictable.

Thirteen months ago, when the new superintendent announced and the DISD board was all smiles, I warned of storm clouds ahead.

This is what I said April 27, 2012:


"My father was the personnel director in the school district from which the new DISD superintendent is coming.

He retired long before Mike Miles arrived, but he knows him well. He served on his advisory committee.

It's this week's Uncut commentary.

The Dallas school board said it wanted a hands-on superintendent, unafraid to make some tough changes.

They definitely got an executive who will set some goals, and closely monitor everyone to make sure they are being met.

The question is, can he survive?

Superintendent Miles, as a former Army Ranger, is used to some pretty tough assignments. This one, in a district multiple times the size of his previous district, Harrison Number 2 in Colorado Springs, will be very, very challenging.

I've covered schools in Omaha, Nebraska, Fort Worth and Dallas. In each case, when a board claimed it wanted a tough minded, independent superintendent - unafraid to step on toes - and found that person, the members spent the first few months praising all the changes and staff shake ups.

But within a couple of years, that all changed.

They suddenly "discovered" the superintendent wasn't enough of a team player, or wasn't sufficiently embracing the board's "vision."

More often than not, what really occurred was the independent, hard-charger stepped on a few board toes, or offended a few board friends.

It's sad, because while we adults fight over everything else, when it comes to schools, kids and their education should come first. Not contracts, not jobs, not politics.

The board claims this will be different, which is what they said about all the other superintendents.

It sure would be nice to be wrong for a change."


I wasn't wrong, but I still wish I were.

I only care about one thing: improving student performance. That can only happen when we put kids first.

Those are my thoughts, send me yours at jmccaa@wfaa.com.

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