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Why Would Anyone Want to Be the Superintendent of Dallas Schools Anyway?

KERA takes a look at the revolving door in the superintendent’s office at Dallas ISD, pointing out that, in contrast to other major districts in Texas, Dallas can’t seem to keep anybody in its top job for long.

If you exclude all the present occupants of the posts, as well as James Hughey, who was only acting superintendent for Dallas ISD (albeit for two years), here’s how the average length of service breaks down since 1997:

Dallas:  4 supers, 2 years and 10 months

Houston: 3 supers, 5 years and 1 month

San Antonio: 2 supers, 6 years

Austin: 1 super, 10 years

This issue is being raised because the Dallas school board will discuss the findings of the Coggins investigation at a closed-door meeting on Saturday. There’s a possibility they could move to fire Mike Miles, who’s been on the job just a little more than a year, as a result.

From the way the KERA piece describes the demands of being a superintendent of a major urban district, I’m not sure why anyone would want the gig. Here’s what former Fort Worth superintendent Melody Johnson said:

“You’ve got nine bosses who call you every day- 10:00, 11:00, midnight- that’s not unusual in an urban system,” she explained.

“You have members who want to micro-manage, whether they have the knowledge or not, and have strong opinions about what should or should not be happening.  And that’s where you get into a lot of tension.”

Could they pay you enough to become Dallas ISD superintendent?
  
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  • Greg Brown

    The school board has too much power, second guesses every decision, and takes the smallest squabbles public to the point that the Super is much more of a caretaker than an actual manager. The current Board/Super power structure is a system desinged to fail. The board should be redesigned to allow the Super to actually have some actual authority.

  • Greg Brown

    The school board has too much power, second guesses every decision, and takes the smallest squabbles public to the point that the Super is much more of a caretaker than an actual manager. The current Board/Super power structure is a system desinged to fail. The board should be redesigned to allow the Super to have some actual authority.

  • Borborygmus

    We could have kept Hinojosa and kept stability. But no.

  • George

    I would go further than simply redesigning the board. I would split DISD up completely into newly formed ISDs. Get it down closer to the local level. Oak Cliff ISD, Preston Hollow ISD, Lakewood ISD, West Dallas ISD, Uptown/Downtown ISD. Target 3A to 4A sized. Parental involvement, scores, no politics, property values will all skyrocket. That will also give parents much greater options for which ISD to live in.

  • Greg Brown

    Totally agree, George. DISD is too big to succeed.

  • LDR4

    Heck, I had three different supers during the time I spent in high school.

  • Michael

    Agreed. This district is too big. Break it up and let’s isolate the problems.

  • Borborygmus

    The only concern I see with that is if one or more of the mini-districts fail, while a few do really well. Would it send the area back to court oversight?

  • Los_politico

    Guys, you do realize that almost every DISD high school IS 3A or 4A, right?

    I assume you also realize that “isolate the problems” would look an awful lot like “isolate the minorities”.

    Separate thought, i f ‘administration’ is wasteful and bad, how does multiplying the number of administrators by four, five, or six fix that problem?

  • Michael

    It would be a lot easier to troubleshoot problems in a smaller district. Execution depends on the voters, parents and administrators. If nothing is done, then it should go back to the court.

  • Michael

    So create mini districts and then create open enrollment within broader Dallas. Open enrollment would be limited to the number of open seats.

  • Louisa Meyer

    Yvonne Gonzalez and Waldemar Rojas were terribly bad hires and quickly fired. But they were a huge gift to the Dallas media, a gift the media keep opening 15 years later.

    Please acknowledge the tenure of Mike Moses and Michael Hinojosa. From my view, DISD had consistent leadership for almost 10 years. Debate the results of their leadership but recognize that they did have stamina under equally tumultuous school boards.

    To be fair, compare DISD’s turnover to RISD for the same time period.

    DISD
    1996-97 Yvonne Gonzalez (1 yr., 1 mo.)
    1999-00 Waldemar Rojas (1 yr.)
    2001-04 Mike Moses (3 yrs., 8 mos.)
    2005-11 Michael Hinojosa (6 yrs., 1 mo.)
    2012- Mike Miles

    RISD
    1996-2004 Carolyn Bukhair (8)
    2004-2006 Jim Nelson (2)
    2006-2009 David Simmons (3)
    2010- Kay Waggoner 

  • Louisa Meyer

    Yvonne Gonzalez and Waldemar Rojas were terribly bad hires and quickly fired. But they were a huge gift to the Dallas media, a gift the media keep opening 15 years later.

    Please acknowledge the tenure of Mike Moses and Michael Hinojosa. From my view, DISD had consistent leadership for almost 10 years. Debate the results of their leadership but recognize that they did have stamina under equally tumultuous school boards.

    To be fair, compare DISD’s turnover to RISD for the same time period.

    DISD
    1996-97 Yvonne Gonzalez (1 yr., 1 mo.)
    1999-00 Waldemar Rojas (1 yr.)
    2001-04 Mike Moses (3 yrs., 8 mos.)
    2005-11 Michael Hinojosa (6 yrs., 1 mo.)
    2012- Mike Miles

    RISD
    1996-2004 Carolyn Bukhair (8)
    2004-2006 Jim Nelson (2)
    2006-2009 David Simmons (3)
    2010- Kay Waggoner 

  • Borborygmus

    But it’s questionable if the split would be approved, if the result is disparate economics between these smaller districts.

    Lets say there is an east Dallas School District. Lets say a smaller district appeals to more parents who send their kids to private school, currently. So the number of wealthier families attending rises. Lets assume they want things better, maybe they have a fundraiser that raises a couple hundred thousand for their schools. This wouldn’t be an option for districts that cannot entice wealth into their community. Would the courts welcome this segregation or shut it down?

    And given Dallas’ 40 year history of wearing that yolk on the neck of our children, don’t we need to think that out a bit more?

  • bobintexas2

    Why would anyone want to do ANYTHING in Dallas? I would not live there if you gave me the place. The City of Dallas sprawling out to where I live has ruined where I live as well. These overgrown Crime infested Cities are TERRIBLE. Why would anyone Choose to live there? BB

  • bobintexas2

    Why would anybody Choose to live in Dallas?? It is an overcrowded DANGEROUS nasty place. The schools suck, it has sprawled out to where I live and ruined it here too. BB