When did you last see a headline like that?
The Dallas ISD Trustees have earned an A for their selection of Mike Miles as the finalist in their search for a new Dallas ISD superintendent. Read all about him in the Dallas Morning News article here.
For a much more in depth read click here to see an article from the Colorado Springs Gazette.
One begins to get a feeling of real hope for the Dallas ISD developing around the trustees’ choice for superintendent, given his clear caring for students and his expressed desire for changing the status quo. He knows that the students’ futures are not well served by doing things the same old way.
But this letter is not about the new superintendent. It is about a transformation that is underway in the thinking of the trustees of the Dallas ISD. They too, as a whole, seem to have a much clearer understanding of the way forward and in recent months they have not been shy is establishing policies and making personnel decisions that prove it.
The Dallas ISD board president Dr. Lew Blackburn has proven to be a quality leader. Thank you, Dr. Blackburn, for leading the board on the journey enumerated below. And thank you, trustees, for championing the following.
First, the trustees chose an interim superintendent, Alan King, to address the district’s financial problems and to make very tough recommendations given reductions in education funding. Everyone in the business world sympathizes with how hard it is to adjust one’s size to fit a budget. King has served the district with distinction during really tough times.
Second, the trustees did not hesitate to act on policies that relate to how reductions in force would be implemented. Before, policy was based largely on seniority, whereas now teacher performance is the dominant factor.
Third, the trustees have embraced the presence of a group known as Teach for America, whose best practices not only replicate well, but also have been proven to lead to an increase in student achievement. Everyone can learn from Teach for America.
Fourth, the policy of forced placement of teachers on campuses was eliminated. Principals now have more control of their campuses and greater flexibility in their leadership roles.
Fifth, the trustees decided to conduct a national search for the best superintendents from which to choose. Clearly, that process and search was well worth the effort as we now have a proven change agent superintendent candidate poised to lead the district forward.
Sixth, the trustees voted to endorse the formation of Commit!, a new community education collaborative. Commit!, which was initially incubated by the Chamber and is now a separate entity, has also been enthusiastically embraced by Mayor Mike Rawlings.
But all of this positive progress is fragile because good policies depend on good trustees. Without good trustees, all of the positives can be put at risk.
We are encouraged by the amount of attention that the school board elections are receiving this year. And we believe EducateDallas, an entity the Chamber created, is having a positive impact on the process.
You can make a difference and be a part of the positive changing happening in Dallas ISD if you choose to participate in the school board elections this year. We encourage you now to get involved in the process. The students, our schools and our workforce of the future are at stake. Its time for those of us in business community to stand up and make our voices heard. Elections are May 12.
Amb. James C. Oberwetter
President & CEO
Dallas Regional Chamber