Dallas ISD Names Mike Miles, Reform-Minded Military Vet from Colorado, Lone Finalist for Superintendent Job

mikemikes.jpg
Mike Miles is the lone finalist for Dallas ISD's top job.
Prediction: The next few weeks may not be a ton of fun for Mike Miles.

Miles, the superintendent of Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, was named the lone finalist for the top job in Dallas ISD at a meeting this afternoon. The board, which voted 8-0 (with Carla Ranger abstaining), now has to wait 21 days before it can officially turn over the keys -- 21 days of inspection by reporters, board members, district officials and probably some friends of this blog. It's like the inspection period in buying a home: Everyone's hoping there are no foundation problems. Or termites. Termites would be bad.

The district received about 90 applicants for the job, and the board has spent the last couple of weeks whittling it down. It apparently landed on Miles during a nine-hour session on Thursday.

Here's Miles' bio:

Mike Miles, 55, formerly the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction of the Fountain-Ft. Carson School District is Harrison School District Two's superintendent.

After graduating from West Point in 1978, Miles entered the ranks of the officer corps at Ft. Lewis, Washington, where he served in the Army's elite Ranger Battalion and commanded an Infantry Rifle Company. After the Army, Miles studied Slavic languages at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Leningrad in Russia. Miles then pursued advanced study of Soviet affairs and public policy at Columbia University after being selected as a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities and winning a National Science Foundation Graduate Scholarship.

Miles graduated from Columbia University in 1989 and joined the U.S. State Department as a Presidential Management Intern. He handled a portfolio usually reserved for more senior officials at the Soviet Desk, making policy recommendations and writing talking points for the Secretary of State regarding German reunification, chemical weapons, NATO and other issues. While at State, Miles became a Foreign Service Officer.

As a diplomat in Warsaw, Poland, Miles tracked Poland's evolving relations with Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe. He analyzed the strength of the post-Communist Party, correctly predicting its return to political power in 1993. A tour in Moscow followed. As Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Miles helped coordinate the Embassy's response to critical events during a time when Russia's relations with the U.S. in a post-Cold War world were as yet undefined. He received the State Department's Meritorious Service Medal in 1994.

The Cold War largely won, Miles and his family decided to return home. He honored his commitment to continue to serve the public interest and entered the field of education. Miles has assumed leadership roles to raise academic standards in his school district and the state. Mr. Miles also serves as an educational consultant and motivational speaker for school districts and other public organizations around the state. He is recognized as an accomplished practitioner of curriculum alignment, organizational effectiveness, and systems thinking.

Miles is married to Karen Miles, and they have three children: Nicholas (20), Madeleine (18), and Anthony (10).

Although the next 21 days will be spent assessing Miles' qualifications, it's the district that's in dire need of repair. A budget shortfall, shifting demographics and previous mismanagement forced the board to close 11 schools in January. Recent public squabbles with teachers have been PR blunders at best, incompetence at worst. And the district's system for hiring and firing teachers was revealed earlier this year to be in shambles.

There's a press conference going on now. I'll update this as we go.

Update, 4:35: Miles just gave some remarks and answered questions from reporters. This much is clear: He can write, and he can talk. And he's a "reformer" through and through, which is bound to attract some skepticism.

Miles said he grew up an at-risk kid with a speech impediment. "Being born in a garage doesn't make you a car," his dad told him as a kid, which eventually led him to this conclusion: "We can escape our background. ... A child's future in education shouldn't be determined by luck."

"I think you're a good district," he said. "There's more work to be done though. We have to address the achievement gap."

He called his current district one of the most "innovative" in the country, "one that's getting ahead of the changes and making sure our kids are college and career ready."
The district has the most "innovative" -- there's that word again -- pay-for-performance systems in the nation, he said, tying both teacher and principal compensation to student achievement.

Miles said several search firms have contacted him in recent years. "This is the only district that I applied to," he said. He also mentioned that his military background -- he's only been in education for 17 years -- will help him lead the large and complicated organization that is DISD.

"There is no better leadership school than West Point," he said. "No offense to West Point."

Miles was understandably cautious about getting into specifics, saying he would have to spend more time researching and talking to stakeholders inside and out of the district. As for how he'll approach his job here: "I'll wake up every day doing my very best for the children of Dallas. ... I'm a public servant. That's what I do."


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67 comments
ReformDISD
ReformDISD

The Road to Broad!! or the ROAD TO BROKE!!!!

Mike Miles is Broad Superintendent Institute Graduate from California, so he also want the Broad Prize. Now, his consulting buddies, will bring in new "INNOVATIVE" ideas, just like the last Institute for Learning and promise them jobs in the district.Wake-up DISD....This is the same song, just with a different singer....Here we go again, on our own....Lyrics by White SnakeI don't know where I'm goinbut I sure know where I've beenhanging on the promises in songs of yesterday.An' I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more timebut here I go again, here I go again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Tho' I keep searching for an answer

ReformDISD
ReformDISD

Glad to hear he has a "hands-on" approach. However, it depends how this will be translated into an large urban organization. I would like to remind everyone that Michael Hinojosa also said he would visit campuses every week and be hands-on. I heard this over and over at committee meetings. However, after the 2008 Budget Debacle, the visits became less and less of a priority, because reality sunk-in. The Road to Broad!! Mike Miles is Broad Superintendent Institute Graduate from California, so he also want the Broad Prize. Now, he's no Doctor to fix education. It look more like he will be a Draconian Leader, who wants to lead by Fear...Sort of like Bill Rojas, in which case, I was a teacher. It looks like we are 12 years behind again.

I think he really needs to come-up with Entry-Plan first and focus on the broken central office that currently exists. He might want to listen to teacher groups, parent groups and create a climate of trust before he embarks in a "let me get you" attitude and brings in his army.

Leading by fear has no room in a large urban system like DISD. Sustainability, Ethical Leadership and TRUST are key....Now, does he have any of these qualities? Haven't hear the TRUST part yet.

The current climate is devastating. Adding, more fuel to the fire, will only lower morale and will lead to lower student achievement because of the future revolving door of principals and teachers.I hope he is not a Bill Rojas, thinking he can shuffle and fire all principals and bring in his Broad TOADS

kcsplash
kcsplash

Mike Miles is a narcissist who has never been successful.Good Luck Dallas…. This idiot took advantage of everyone he could at his current position with no regard for them or there families. His behind the scenes BS and penchant for putting friends in positions regardless of the turmoilmade life hell for good people and good teachers. Bye Bye joey……. Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2...

Jodi Clemons Mathison
Jodi Clemons Mathison

Dear Dallas teachers, I hope  that you have a strong teacher union and a board that isn't willing to bend over for Mike Miles. Miles is an arrogant bully. He has bled our district dry with his ridiculous self-promoting campaigns. The first year in our district he went around and fired all of the union leadership he could find. If you are not fired, you will wish you were. His Pay for Performance program is a bunch of crap ... set up to keep you at the same pay. He will place all of the responsibility of education on your shoulders ... and NONE on the children. Mike Miles DOES NOT understand how to educate minority children from improverish homes. Their attendance, their grades, and test scores will be ALL your responsibility. In Harrison, the kids know who is in charge. Prepare to TEACH in a military like manner ... you can find videos of Mr. Miles on the internet drilling children like robots ... and if you don't follow his skill and drill, he will fire you on the spot. Think you've got tenure?? He has cost our district Millions in lawsuits from wrongfully fired teachers ... the district has NEVER won a lawsuit against these teachers either.

kcsplash
kcsplash

Mike Miles is a narcissist who has never been successful.Good Luck Dallas…. This idiot took advantage of everyone he could at hiscurrent position with no regard for them or there families. His behind thescenes BS and penchant for putting friends in positions regardless of the turmoilmade life hell for good people and good teachers. Bye Bye joey…….

SlamminSammySnead
SlamminSammySnead

Yay! DISD now has its very own Broad Toad who owns a consulting company that does business with his existing district and who loves to fire teachers based on state test scores! He's everything the business community thinks they want and everything that the parents and teachers loathe.

Daniel
Daniel

This poor son-of-a-bitch has no idea what he's getting into.

smichaelclark
smichaelclark

Thank God they chose an outsider and not one of the Dallas crooks bidding for the job

HP Coupon Code
HP Coupon Code

As is true of all cities, especially large ones, all areas have problems. I am in a suburb of Dallas (population 135,000) located in the southeast area.

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

Now that we have a good candidate, let's re-do the board. Let's get board members who vote, who speaks for the people who vote them in. DISD is very complex and its going to take a workable board to get the district on track. I am so tired of the bickering. I don't believe Miles will take the shit that will come from some of the members on the board. Maybe that's why they didn't vote for him. If a board member will not vote, not show up for important board meeting, well, they need to go.

Miles is going to have some problem from a lot of unqualified principals that was placed in their positions and  teachers who have gotten by on the friendship/buddy system. Thses people will have problems. Give this guy a chance and you will see the cream of the crop in DISD;  there are really good teachers in DISD.  If you are a good teacher, under this guy, it will show.

As I always like to say, get your popcorn

JeffUptown
JeffUptown

Mike Miles is Half Asian (Japanese) half African American. His features are more Asian looking. There are only two Asian principals in DISD that I know of. North Dallas high school principal and Franklin Middle School and they both are excellent administrators.

Urbandweller203
Urbandweller203

What's your point? Most of us are mixed with something. What does his mixture have to do with getting the job done....

East Dallas Dad
East Dallas Dad

Great, a drill and kill, teach to the test "reformer" that thinks teachers are the problem.

I guess it's time for my wife and I to start looking at the charters and private schools.

Sammy
Sammy

If you are in the right part of East Dallas you would be throwing your money away at a private school.

11xray@sbcglobal.net
11xray@sbcglobal.net

 Take a long hard look at what Miles has done in Harrison. If he does even half of that here he will destroy the progress that has been made and even the "good" schools will be impacted.

guest
guest

This is the problem.  When parents move their kids out of public schools to pursue education in private and charters, they cause the problem they complain about.  Removal of your child also removes resources, parent support, etc.  The very problem that charters are trying to address are caused by them.  White flight!

Its So Sad
Its So Sad

Who needs vouchers when we have Charter Schools? If you don't like your school, start one!DISD is destined to become one large Alternative Education Program. All of the families and students that care about education will be in the suburbs, charter schools or private schools.I dread teaching the next 10 years as my best and brightest move OUT of DISD!

Creative thought: DISD should include students that graduate from high school at other places. Hey, "they got their start in DISD, so we should include them in our graduation rate!"Wonder what THAT would do for our AYP?

Shelley
Shelley

I wonder what private school his children will attend. He may be a true maverick and let them tough it out in the public school district of Highland Park.

Jamieleerae
Jamieleerae

He does not live in the district he commands nor does he send his children to school in the district. Instead he sends them to the wealthy district in northern Colorado Springs ... a district with VERY different ideas about education.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

As an Amy veteran myself, do not fret about him not having any "classroom" experience. YES, he has. ALL officers, especially as platoon leaders, they ARE trainers. The classroom may be a clearing in a forest and the chalkboard under your feet is a patch of sand, but trust me, he KNOWS what students are like the day AFTER graduation. He knows how to train---and have it stick.

I wonder what "reforms" he loves, but if he can bring discipline and leadership abilities to our administrative level in DISD, he will be worth the money.

Now, in case he or his wfie read this:STAY AWAY FROM PRESTON HOLLOW, NORTH DALLAS, OR ANYWHERE NEAR HILLCREST HIGH SCHOOL!!!

It is time to have a superintendent who is not neighbors with the very people who have been screwing with DISD for decades.

Choose East Dallas, such as Buckner Terrace. Bishop Arts in Oal Cliff, even Lakewood/White Rock. Sir, you could be innovative and choose Singing Hills, Cedar Crest or Oak Lawn.

We are begging you, the ones who teach in DISD, do not be like the previous four bosses. Be your own man and help us change this district into a decent, honest and positive place to work---so we can teach and the students can learn.

Dividedwefail
Dividedwefail

What do the parents and other stakeholders in Colorado say about him? What are his successes and failures there? Much more information is needed before he gets the position - we cannot afford another failure in DISD. It's time to get informed.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

There are negative comments about him on the DMN DISD Blog from what seem to be CO residents/employees.  

The code words associated with him in his intro are not what most people would want for their children if they knew what the code words mean:  Broad, Rhee, military, pay-for-performance.  

Highland Park, for example, hasn't bought into any of those code words. Wonder why...probably because they signal "expensive but ineffective".

Hockaday, St. Mark's, etc don't buy into any of that nonsense, either.

It also sounds like he is a vendor--someone who owns a company and sells consulting to SCHOOL DISTRICTS.  That's a BIG concern; I hope I misread the information.

Jodi Clemons Mathison
Jodi Clemons Mathison

Miles owns his own consulting firm. He uses teachers to construct curriculum maps, and those things at ridiculous prices to other districts via his consulting firm. He does not work full time for the district, yet receives a full time salary ... go figure. His consulting firm is called Focal Point. He employees some of his cronies as well at this firm. I worked under this lunatic for 5 years in the district. Mike Miles is unprofessional, arrogant, and rude. There is only one way to do things ... HIS. Word of advice ... better make sure you've got a strong teacher's union. Ours rolled over like a dead animal. Plus, he got the board to hand over all the power to him, so he could do as he please without consulting them. You want to know about the real Mike Miles (not that fakeass act he puts on) ... talk to some Harrison teachers! They will tell you the REAL story. We are so thrilled to get rid of him and sorry someone else is willing to let him destroy education more than he already has.

Sammy
Sammy

First of all HP doesn't want minorities in their schools...Hockaday and St. Mark's at least see the value of such.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Pay-for-performance will not even come close to addressing the underlying issues that cripple DISD.

Pay-for-performance will be expensive and will result in lawsuits, but it will NOT bring the middle class back to DISD.  If the middle class cannot use the schools, Dallas will become increasingly tiny islands of affluence in a sea of decaying blight.

Pay-for-performance (which I have rec'd as a DISD teacher) will not thin the race-based, nepotistic, corrupt Titanic that drives DISD from 3700 and drives the middle class to the suburbs.

This candidate/hire will embrace whatever the Board wants him to.  Pay-for-performance is a tired idea that benefitted me, but won't fix what's really wrong with DISD.

Once again, our school board refuses to fix the real problems.Anyone can blow in from points unknown and march around like a drill sergeant.  It will not impress the middle class parents.

Kendall
Kendall

We definately need a new school board. No question about it.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

A military person is what we need. If teachers get over being afraid and speak up, we can work on the pay-for-performance h ting. Maybe, think of this, maybe if the fraud and waste goes away and we get real leaders, we won't need P F P....

Jaderhino
Jaderhino

I am a veteran, and I worked in his district. He likes to tell a story about when he was in and he was in charge of upkeep of equipment for his soldiers and how one time he was waiting on a bolt of some sort through proper channels. A general came by and was upset the equipment was not up and running and was yelling at him for not thinking outside the box and buying the bolt himself at the hardware store. Here's the thing, he tells you this story and you think, " this man wants me to do what is best for my students even though I may not follow proper procedures" but the truth is that the second you have an innovative thought...you are out the door. Don't be fooled. This man is no hero and he won't save your district. I realize you guys will do what you will, but I would have felt bad not to warn you.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Broad, Diane, Broad.And Rhee.Both mindsets ignore the corruption and nepotism and cronyism that really tanks urban districts and focuses instead on treating the symptom (weak teachers hired by the corrupt cronies).

Kim Olsen was military, too, and she told principals not to think of the teachers they were firing as "people" but as "positions".  That disaster derailed hundreds of schools, teachers were yanked from kindergarten to 5th grade, and we ended up with 33 unacceptable schools.

And as long as Shirley is there, who is going to speak up?  

Military is fine, as long as that person is fundamentally moral and willing to stop the corruption and put the kids first.

We don't need military.  We need moral.

Guest
Guest

Didn't Delores Umbridge go through the Broad Acedemy?

MissTigraTX
MissTigraTX

So, DISD is like a 12 year old kid that has never been disciplined and needs a tough, no-nonsense step-father to pull the reigns before it gets out of control.  I would so rather have a former military man than a former coach (ahem, Hinojosa).  

Bob
Bob

No matter how good his background, or his credentials, or his intentions, the thing that is the most troubling about DISD is the very thing over which he will have little control:  the incredibly dysfunctional Board.  The next challenge for the district is the election of a Board that is competent, capable, and purposeful about fixing DISD.  Although prayer IN the schools is out of bounds, this might be a good time to pray OUTSIDE the DISD headquarters that this man can actually make a positive difference in our schools, and that new Board members will support and promote his efforts.

Sammy
Sammy

IMO the board has been steadily improving. They have made some courageous decisions with a large degree of unity.

Gungho5
Gungho5

Miles has been compared to Michelle Rhee by some...I hope this is not a good comparison because she was not an effective leader for D.C.  She received a great deal of publicity for herself and her one-woman reform movement, but the schools got worse and the charter schools have taken all of their students away.  

Jd
Jd

From his picture I cant tell if he is black, white or hispanic.  Thats what makes him a good choice.

Pincookie4
Pincookie4

Black and Korean if memory serves me right.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Unfortunately, his race will decide which overpaid bureaucrats get to stay and which ones might finally get cut loose.

He won't make those decisions, of course.  Those deals have already been worked out.

What's good for kids and taxpayers is not important to the Board of Trustees.Keeping different factions quiet so the plundering of the budget can continue is the priority here.  Education is not the priority, except in private schools.

How to fix DISD?Vouchers for every child.  Only when parents get to choose where the money goes will education become the priority.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Gee, you're so right.

Since a voucher of $8,000 won't guarantee a child a spot in a nice private school, let's just keep them stuck at places like Spruce High School or maybe Cary Middle School.  Or how about Halliday Elementary where 20 out of 22 teachers got busted for mistreating young children.

Did it ever even occur to you that many private schools would waive the costs not covered by the voucher?  

Or that dozens of currently small private schools would expand for the cost of the voucher?

Or that new private schools would open to serve children and parents?

Only the rich and lucky children get to escape people like you:  people who would tell them to shut up and stay where they're stuck.

You undoubtedly profit off of the current system.  

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

And what, praytell will that vouch pay 100% of? Entry to Jesuit? PES? ESD? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I am convinced DISD will get better, it just needs one less DISD TEACHER.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

This guy may be just what DISD needs.

kcsplash
kcsplash

Mike Miles is a narcissist who has never been successful.Good Luck Dallas…. This idiot took advantage of everyone he could at hiscurrent position with no regard for them or there families. His behind thescenes BS and penchant for putting friends in positions regardless of the turmoilmade life hell for good people and good teachers. Bye Bye joey……. Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2...

Colin Z
Colin Z

Mike Miles.  Sounds like Mike Moses.  Alliteratively speaking, of course.

Rumpunch
Rumpunch

I heard that Carla Ranger abstained from the vote.  Does anyone know why she did this time?

Sam
Sam

Impressive credentials - would seem to be someone who would support the International Baccalaureate progams being implemented in the Lakewood area.

Does Not Like Mike
Does Not Like Mike

DISD teachers - get out while you can. Miles will institute a radical pay for performance scheme that will have you working like waiters or car salesmen for test scores at the expense of creativity and real learning.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

I know some waiters with degrees that make $ more than teachers AND deserve it. Kinda requires more knowledge of a different sort, I'm just saying. But go ahead and disparage one of the most physically gruelling jobs there is in any industry. So please, get out while you can if you think that is where you need to go. Don't stay on our account.

Does Not Like Mike
Does Not Like Mike

I've already left for much greener pastures.

Despite my experiences with DISD's corrupt and incompetent leadership, my wife and I were considering enrolling our daughter in DISD as our neighborhood school is pretty good. The hiring of Miles has made our decision a lot easier. We won't subject her to endless teaching to the test which is all Miles cares about.

Bright Idea
Bright Idea

St. Philip's School, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Adam from East Dallas
Adam from East Dallas

Very impressive pick.  Congratulations to the Board of Trustees for doing their due diligence and recruiting a highly regarded candidate.  I look forward to great results and student achievement from DISD in the future.

kcsplash
kcsplash

Mike Miles is a narcissist who has never been successful.Good Luck Dallas…. This idiot took advantage of everyone he could at hiscurrent position with no regard for them or there families. His behind thescenes BS and penchant for putting friends in positions regardless of the turmoilmade life hell for good people and good teachers. Bye Bye joey……. Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2...

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