Dallas ISD's Without a Superintendent, a Chief Academic Officer and, Now, a Chief of Schools

Micheaux, Donna.JPG
Donna Micheaux
Earlier today, when word broke that Donna Micheaux was out the door as the Dallas Independent School District's chief of schools, I asked Jon Dahlander if there was Official Comment concerning the surprising departure. Because it is surprising, at least on the surface: Micheaux, who was appointed chief administrative officer for the district in '07, had been one of the more visible and powerful members of the district's central office, pushing for changes at the magnets and a retooling of the charter school policies.

But as some Friends of Unfair Park have noted in the past, Micheaux wasn't highly regarded at 3700 Ross -- and less so once Michael Hinojosa left. Which, perhaps, is why her position was eliminated. Today. This is what Dahlander just sent:
Similar to hundreds of central staff positions that were eliminated this past spring, the Chief of Schools Officer position has been eliminated effective immediately.

As a result, the Division of School Leadership and Administrative Services has been reorganized. Dorothy Gomez, Senior Executive Director, will be the interim lead overseeing the secondary senior executive directors and Shirley Ison-Newsome, Senior Executive Director, will be the interim lead overseeing the elementary senior executive directors. In addition, Sherry Christian, executive director of Administrative Operations and Support, will be the interim lead for central staff in School Leadership and Administrative Services.

As this is a matter involving personnel, it will not be discussed further.
It's worth noting: With the departure of Hinojosa, chief academic officer Ivonne Durant and now Micheaux, the district's saving quite a bit of coin. Because Durant and Micheaux were both making $188,000 annually. The slate, she is clean. Well, cleaner.

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87 comments
Fritoelbandito
Fritoelbandito

Dearest Lew:Quit joking around man...you know why she left..you know the details...you know you pushed her out cuz she wouldnt do your bidding like isonnewsome and landry will do they be good sistas that take out the meskins....@mcnaughty you stil selling that garbag eof im for the kids..come one man you knoew and i kno its the business community that you are worried about..you are changing policy that will not hold water against lawuits, but who cares your law firm will get richer..yeah baby...good boy..i wouldnt trust you if you were one of the 12 disciples...you going to be teh deat of public schools...thats ok cuz your kids are gone..thats all that matters....as long as you do the business community's dirty work under the guise of doing it for the kids..

Ryan
Ryan

Yeah, not good

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

SAT scores were just released 30 minutes ago.The nations public schools saw a drop in SAT scores in Reading (494), Math (506) and Writing (483) of -3%, -4% and -3% over 2010 scores.  Texas public schools saw a drop in SAT scores in Reading (475), Math (500) and Writing (461) of -5%, -2% and -7% over 2010 scores. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/new...An argument can be made that the more kids that take the test, the lower the overall scores.Texas will still rank 47th or 48th among all the states.

WTW Grad
WTW Grad

i went to DISD schools - WTWhite graduate,, so when i had my kids and we lived in dallas i said -  DISD over my dead body- .. we moved to first Garland/RISD schools then on to Richardson/RISD schools.. i have never regretted it. this was back in 96... some things never change... too much greed and money going to the wrong places (up instead of down)... not sure what the answer is and so far i haven't heard any answers that make sense or ones anyone except ones that are making money off the deal would take. Its just stagnant/dying from inertia

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

What's the big news here?  Micheaux never bothered to hide the fact DISD was always just a stepping stone for her.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

And I'm not being facetious when I say, let's eliminate every one of those positions and see if anyone notices. I'd be willing to bet a dinner at the French Room, no one would. 

Watching South Detroit
Watching South Detroit

Don't worry - any money saved by eliminating an executive positions will soon be wasted by creating new positions or with some useless travel or some more steak dinners.  Remember, this is DISD.  Saving money is not in their culture. 

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

A friend reminded me that our contracts at DISD tell us that they might have a job for us, but won't guarantee it, and they will pay us, until they cannot guarantee that--then they can fire us. When people bash teachers and unions, take notice that these execs get perks and pay and severence packages we only dream of.

Maybe the next sup't can only have 1.5 times the length of my contract. If I have one year, they get 18 months. If my school cannot plan out more than one year at a time, why should the DISD as a whole? If they think a sup't is needed for a longer period of time, why am I not?

Yes, now that Dr H is gone, the ones who came with him are leaving, too. They know their time is almost gone. I hope  this job is left unfilled. Maybe they can hire back 4 librarians or six monitors for this.

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

Asking someone to be the superintendent of schools at DISD and giving them a one year contract with a $150,000 salary would net us zero qualified candidates for the job? In fact, I believe that we would be in worse shape than  we are now.  While I believe a $300,000 salary is high, I am  aware of current salaries in the marketplace for superintendents of schools in urban districts an $150,000 would not cut it.  We did go overboard with the administrative salaries when Hinojosa ut his staff together and we must reduce those salaries. Hinojosa had a very lucrative contract that the board agreed to.  I  believe that perks should be limited, a proven track record in large urban schools, a change agent (not a former coach),  and  measurable goals should all be considerations .  The board has a difficult time making good decisions and should consider appointing a citizens committee to be apart of the selection process.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Let's break this down, simply and with a clear vision.

She is gone, and nobody noticed. Hinojosa left, and someone else is filling in. Durant is gone, and my life changed not one bit.

BUT IF WENT MISSING, 150 KIDS WOULD BE LEFT UNATTENDED AND WITHOUT  LEARNING. They would need a sub ASAP!

Once people figure out what the DISD should concentrate on, the rest is easy.

My hope and prayers are that now she is gone, are we through, finished, done  with "Road to Broad, IFL and the U of Pitt?"

cannedanswer
cannedanswer

You forgot to mention that every single principal fancies himself a superintendent of some district. That is where the really big bucks kick in. They have to move up the food chain to get there. They have no loyalty whatsoever to a campus or its kids. Dangle a promotion and they will go for it, no matter if they totally screw the campus kids and parents. Administrators across the board are motivated by money, not kids, not parents, not community, but MONEY. Can't make money in the classroom, so they leave that to teachers willing to be responsible for all things and who in the this new age will be treated as widgets.The loser at Woodrow went to UT austin to get a superintendent's certificate once she failed at Woodrow. Lew Blackburn, failed administrator is a grad of the same program as was Hinojosa. These are morons too stupid to make it anywhere but a school district.Money, money, money, and the right to blame a school's failure on the teachers. Off with their heads.Get it? It's going to get much worse. The Great Divide between those stupid teachers willing to stay in the classroom and get paid nothing and the players who are administrators will grow and grow and grow. Name a good campus in Dallas where an administrator will pass up a promotion. Look at those who are promoted. They failed at other campuses. By the way, what does the principal at Marsh know about running a high school?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

1.  I think she being paid thru December, which if true, just makes me crazy.  I could really use an assistant and if she's still getting a check...well...I have lots she could help with.

2.  Another story I think would be very interesting was mentioned in another thread by Diane Birdwell.  DISD teachers are given 1 free fair ticket.  That is very generous of the fair people and it is appreciated.  But Diane has friends who work for the fair who insist they give 2 tickets for each teacher to DISD.  If this is true, who is making off with the extra fair tickets?

Medrano on My Mind
Medrano on My Mind

Wilonsky, please get on this Medrano story.  We haven't heard a peep out of you guys and the DMN is screwing it up already.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

Now we are making some progress!  Any chance the school board will resign?

rumpunch
rumpunch

Maybe she can find a District that hires "employees of promise" rather than based on performance and merit.

HCHB
HCHB

Corruption in the is causing the demise of our Country with many roots in Texas. LawinIustice.com exposes a really disturbing case in Dallas

chad
chad

My wife taught in DISD and finally had enough and moved to a private school this year. We have a two year old and my wife refuses to even consider any DISD school at any level. Our options are move to the suburbs or private school.

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

You are right.  She was just another bad choice by Hinojosa.  A Broad toad.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

When we can run a DISD school like a private school, we will have superior ratings. When we can limit enrollment like PEAK does, screen for juvenile offenders as KIPP does, when we can permanently expel--as in FOREVER--troublemakers, THEN we will see a rise in scores. There is NO achievement gap in Dept of Defense schools. Their integrated populations do fine because their parents have jobsm, free medical care, discipline, safe housing and drug free soldier-airmen-sailor-marine parents. Why this is NEVER ever used as how to make succes in a govt' school is beyond me.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

I picked up Steve Brill's, "Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools" on my Kindle for the flight back from Clemson where my daughter began her sophomore year three weeks ago.  Read the whole thing in one sitting. It is a brief history of how we got here with some behind-the-scenes titillation. I recommend it because it traces the interpersonal relationships between all of the folks - Tilson, Ravitch, Rhee, Obama, the hedge funds, Broad, Gates, on and on and on. It was important, for me anyway, to see how these interpersonal relationships bred TFA, NCLB and the Race to the Top, etc.  All of these people (and there are a lot) have a large and continued impact on us today.  You may find interesting the creation of principal development programs in the 90's and their successes and weaknesses.  Effective teachers make all the difference.  Dallas is mentioned because some of its data was used to show that effective teachers show year-over-year student achievement gains while ineffective teachers do not.  The problem is that these teachers become "islands of education" and when they leave, or the kids move on to the next grade, the kids suddenly find themselves tossed back into the seas of ignorance.  This burns out the teachers and deflates the kids. Brill's article from 8/21 [ http://www.dfpe.org/pdf/Steven... ] has a conciliatory, even apologetic, tone that you sure don't get from his book. However, just as Diane Ravitch doesn't offer solutions in her books, Steve Brill's simple-minded argument that all of our problems stem from greedy unions and lazy teachers is completely one-dimensional - still it's an interesting read.   Oh, DFPE has an interesting reading list here: http://dfpe.org/index2.asp?act... 

cannedanswer
cannedanswer

School reform will occur when poor kids in this country have the same quality of schools as the elite rich.Bill Gates wouldn't send his own children to a school with 40 kids in a class, yet he thinks this is the answer to budget cuts. He wouldn't allow his own kids to be continually paddled by state tests and benchmarks and more state tests that have ruined the ability of teachers to make sense of the curriculum, yet he thinks more testing for poor kids is the answer. He wants plenty of enrichment, extremely well educated teachers, and principals who answer to the parents. No poor kids or their parents get this treatment.

Sandy Kress, the father of NCLB and the person WHO HAS MOST PROFITED from his lobbying and testing ties, didn't put his kids in public schools to be assaulted by NCLB. He tucked them away in a private school where they got an excellent classical liberal arts education. He paid for their education with lobbying money from Pearson, but he didn't want his kids to be a part of the garbage he put in place..

To end NCLB, put Obama's children in a test-driven school. Put Bill Gates in a school that he proposes for the poor in this country. None of them would stand for the poor excuses for principals in urban districts, the top heavy bureaucrats, or the constant testing.

Not good enough for their kids, then why is this being crammed down the throats of every student and parent without the means to pay for private school?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Schools across the district opened on time and are  off and running WITHOUT an overpaid superintendent--in the middle of a budget mess and with fewer soldiers in the trenches (teachers).

We obviously don't need a superintendent.  If Dallas must cling to an outdated paradigm that has netted rotten results, then hire a superintendent for $150,000.

cannedanswer
cannedanswer

Other superintendents who are headhunters established the market for urban superintendents.

Their extravagant pay was set by their crony buddies.

The current headhunter told the board not to allow citizens any input into the reptile who will be swilling down their tax dollars. The whole hiring process is bogus.

Try two years without a superintendent and determine if there is any difference in the poor quality of the schools.

The Dallas board had the worst hiring record of any district before Desoto decided to haul in a person who will likely go to jail. Maybe the exsuperintendent of El Paso would want the job. Oh yeah, he was trained in Dallas in felony theft and just got fired.

Your assumption that pay has anything to do with quality is wrong.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

She might be gone, but I don't think her paycheck is...yet.

Did the trustees seriously approve paying her thru December?  

Why not keep her until then?Why do our trustees keep giving our money away?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

And that pretty sums up the response of every teacher I know.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Nobody seems to think it is a problem, I guess. They even caught a man a couple of years ago right outside the gates of the fair, selling teacher tickets... A STACK OF THEM.

But hey, if you want like I do, I go once with the teacher ticket, then a second time with the Dr Pepper can thing....

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

And this isn't about an extra fair ticket for me or any other teacher.

It's about rooting out the people skimming off the top and abusing the community's goodwill and generosity.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

We only have so many writers. We're trying, swear. I blame Schutze. But where did Rudy screw it up? Because Rudy's a good. Do tell.

rumpunch
rumpunch

I agree, I would like to see that story as well.  Fact checking and proofreading are slowing you down Robert.  The DMN doesn't let facts or grammer stop a scoop. :)

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

BRAVO.

I distrust, ignore, dismiss, and roll my eyes at any educrat reformer regardless of how many books they write unless they have been an urban classroom teacher for 10 years.

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

Please share with me the name of one school district that no one in charge other than the elected officials.  It sounds politically correct to make such a statement, but is is proven and practical?

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

You did not read my statement.  I never said paid had everything to do with the job.  What I did say was that pay is a factor of finding qualified candidates.  I stand by that statement. 

I watched this district for many years and I a fully aware of many of the problems that we have.  I do not know what the 4 proposals from head hunters , but this board can insist that there be a community componant and I hope that they do.

cannedanswer
cannedanswer

Because unlike teachers with contracts, administrators with contracts are taken seriously. And administrators demand contracts, especially if they are in line for prosecution like the Desoto superintendent who just walked with $188,000.If teachers no longer can expect any valid contract consideration, ask the board to hire the next superintendent of Dallas as an at-will employee. Change all administrator contracts to at-will.Superintendents and the jackals who were superintendents and who are now head hunters, are predatory. They have no intention of working without an iron clad contract full of perks.Change the board or change the game. A person making $300,000 can afford his own cell bill. He can afford to buy his own cars. Travel perks need to go away.Call the board's hand on the next perk-laden contract handed out to an administrator. If they won't honor teacher contracts, then no one gets a contract.After all, Edwin Flores just loves charters. Charters use teachers like pack mules, but look how good their scores are.Next superintendent needs the same rules. At will employee with no perks.

Watch the board and see where their priorities are. If no superintendent existed for the next decade, school would still open and close. Principals can hire from their campuses. Get rid of HR and get rid of most of 3700 Ross Avenue.

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

Was the guy a middle aged Hispanic gentleman named Mike who had a mustache?

Medrano on My Mind
Medrano on My Mind

As of the writing of the initial story, they hadn't even mentioned that these people were related to Pauline Medrano.  I thought that was a pretty important piece to the story.  It has been fixed, so I'll stop griping FOR NOW :)..  I would like to see how all of the others are related, however.  A Medrano family tree would be freaking fantastic.  Also, these allegations have been going on for a really long time.  I would like to read about the history on some of that.  Thanks for the indepth reporting.  Keep it up!

AintNoSunshine
AintNoSunshine

Damn you Schutze! Dont let age get in your way!!! Medrano, Medrano, Medrano!!!

Lets go people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

rumpunch
rumpunch

I was just taking the easy opportunity to make fun of the DMN.  I agree, Rudy is one of the few good ones.  I do not see any issues with this article, therefore I would like to know the errors as well.  Some of the comments are pretty stupid however.

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

Thank you so much.  People can be civil about their disagreements.  I think we  probably agree more often  than not, and I also believe that we are considering the education of the children in public schools. 

The years of decline of the district have made us all a little edgy.  Please do not take my comments personal. 

Be blessed.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Pay a super $150K or do without one.

I respect you.  I am aware of your sacrifices.  I can only imagine what racism you have endured in your life.  I ask my parents and my in-laws how in the world they stood by and watched such evil acts occur.

So, I would never intentionally disrespect you.  I am merely giving my opinion.  And my opinion is that we can move on as a district and stop paying ridiculous salaries to a figurehead.

Even though we may disagree on this, I hope you will continue to weigh in and offer your perspective bc we need it and it is valuable.  Your insights have guided my thinking many times.  

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Just bc every other school district out there wants to pay an overpriced "hand puppet" does not mean DISD should.do it..

We could be the first district to wise up and stop the insanity.

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

Not an insane question.  Please share with me the name of a school district that does not have someone in charge other than the elected officials.

We agree on Dallas Achieves and Commit, but I do believe Superintendent like Chad Wollery and Marvin Edwards worked for the good of the children.

cannedanswer
cannedanswer

Hinojosa was willing to open schools this fall with no security on campus in order to cut the budget and save all his crony buddies.

Isn't your question rather insane since he was willing to risk the safety of thousands of high school and middle school students rather than cut the thick layers of nepotism and cronyism around him?

And for the most of Hinojosa's tenure, Don Williams was in charge of the school district. He helped blow up the finances with his friend as CFO. Dallas Achieves almost bankrupted the 8th largest school district in the nation. The Citizen's Council controls the board through the flow of money. Commit! wants the same action.

Your ideal of some superintendent working for the good of children doesn't exist and has never existed in Dallas.

So don't have one for a couple of years. Security guards are a necessity. The superintendent is the hand puppet of the business community. Why pay for a hand puppet?

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

Michael, Pay is always a factor in employment issues and particularly for someone who is willing to take on this crumbling school district.  Superintendents do get recycled, but we have not had a local person to be superintendent in the last 4, so that is not our problem.  Our problem is too many people are trying to influence an already weak board and the board is making bad decisions.  Gonzales, Rojas, Moses and Hinojosa were all bad choices made by the DISD policy makers and until that situation is corrected, we will continue to have this conversation.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Joyce, I don't believe that pay will be a factor in finding qualified candidates.  DISD has tried to "buy quality" and it just ain't working.  Here is the real problem...just as local districts play "pass the lemon" and force-place teachers and move failing principals from school to school the failing superintendents are simply recycled by these major head-hunting firms. The traditional applicant pool mostly sucks. Here's a guy that at least speaks truth to power...http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blo...

cannedanswer
cannedanswer

What do you want to bet that highest paid teacher at $95K is an Athletic Director, not a teacher?

Superintendent's pay is related to the strings Linus Wright or Mike Moses pull when negotiating contracts for the brotherhood. And yes, both are back at the trough.

There is absolutely no relationship to honesty, ethics, or performance and the amount paid urban superintendents. What is strange about Texas is that superintendents are paid as if they were chancellors of NYC. No, they are paid more than NYC with its million school kids.

Who started this extravaganza? Mike Moses who was the highest paid superintendent in the nation when he was threatening the board for more pay or he would walk.

Look at the mess he left. A financial unit that had no clue of what they were paying or whom they were paying. Failing schools everywhere.

There is no reason to have so many top people and to keep promoting those who failed on campuses. Speaking of that, Isome Newsome just got promoted. Pull her pcard transgressions and ask why she wasn't fired. Leslie Williams failed at Skyline so he got promoted. Bryan Adams is a mess left by Goodsell who was promoted. Put these people on campuses or let them go.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

Actually the idea of limiting the Super's contract to one year and his/her salary to a fixed percentage higher than the highest paid administrator (who would be limited to a fixed percentage higher than the highest paid teacher) has some traction.  The highest paid teacher is $95K so add 25% to get to the highest paid administrator at $120K and the super gets a max of 25% of $120K or  $150K.  In the case of superintendents nationwide, pay certainly does not equate to quality of leadership.

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