DISD's New Hires Will Make Six Figures. But Did Mike Miles Mention He's Saved The District $1.2 Million?

Thumbnail image for miles_introdoced1.jpg
Now that DISD has put together a handy informational packet, it can tell you how much its new administrators make.
News has been trickling out as DISD Superintendent Mike Miles has filled out his leadership team. Thursday, it was Seattle Public Schools' Aurora Lora as assistant superintendent. Friday it was Ft. Worth ISD's Sylvia Reyna as school leadership chief and the fifth and penultimate member of Miles' cabinet. The burning question, given recent history, was Yeah, but how much will they make? To which Miles, fresh off promises of new levels of openness and transparency, didn't have much to say.

Today, as they say, is a different day, because DISD just dropped a lengthy press release (five pages, printed out) giving brief bios of the new hires. Bios, but no salaries. For that you had to open the attached PDF and page through nine pages of the same bios and calculations to the effect that Miles' reorganization has already saved the district $1.2 million. On page 10, you find the salaries:

DISD Salaries.jpg

So why not release the numbers beforehand? DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander patched me through to Miles, who was squeezing in a handful of media interviews this afternoon while he waited at the airport.

He didn't reveal the new hires' salaries when asked, he said, because it would have been premature. "You know how it works," Miles said. "You have to wait for the other side to get the information out. Sometimes things leak prematurely." As for how that squares with his promise of openness: "I think today is a good example of being open and transparent."

The salary stuff out of the way, I asked about the new hires. It's a top-notch team, he said. "We are proud that we have gotten both local talent and national talent," he said, like assistant superintendent Milan Sevak, who is leaving an executive director post at Chicago Public Schools.

The hires were selected through "performance interviews" in which, rather than a typical sit-down Q&A, the applicants are asked to perform a job-related task to see how they respond in real-world situations. Most were done in Dallas while Miles was in town, with a few taking place in Colorado Springs.

I asked whether, given that decisions were being made so quickly, there wasn't a danger of insufficiently vetting a candidate, like when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. "That's a strange analogy, but I understand the question anyway," he told me. He assured me that all of the new hires are perfectly competent. Had he wanted to simply put warm bodies in open positions, he could have easily done so. The reason there's still no chief academic officer and eight executive director slots are empty is because he's not rushing the process.

Interviews will continue, but the main thing to focus on right now the budget from which, he pointed out twice during our conversation, he has already trimmed $1.2 million in administrative salaries. And, speaking of the budget, the school board will vote on next year's this week.

DISD Salaries/Leadership Announcement


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12 comments
Hauteblooms
Hauteblooms

How do we know these are not more of the same?

Ytumamatambien
Ytumamatambien

 "Sprague said she’s not sure all six eight employees have been told of the changes. She’s checking right now whether she can release the names of the positions." You mean she didnt tell the employees herself?  You mean she commented to the media without verifying they had been notified?  You mean she has no idea what is going on in her own department already?  You mean for 185K a year she doesnt have the intestinal fortitude to tell her own employees she has decided to reorganize?  And why is she referring to Mike Miles are Mr. Miles?  Oh wait they dont have cofee just tea!!! Question what is the reorganization?  Surely she has a plan! So what is it?  For 185K surely she has an org chart already?  This is a train wreck!

Get Real
Get Real

Top recruits? I don't think so. Some of these outsiders may be great at their previous jobs but there is no guarantee they will be successful in DISD. None of them came from a district bigger than Dallas ISD or if they were, the challenges are not the same. So, why reward them with high salary when they have not hurdled anything yet in DISD?

Chiggers!
Chiggers!

Please, do come back two years from now and defend this position. School districts are not businesses and shouldn't be run as such.

Chiggers!
Chiggers!

Are these lawyers, architects and engineers you're referring to getting entry level jobs with DISD?

Chiggers!
Chiggers!

Top Men, I say! We're putting Top Men in these high level positions.

albatross
albatross

Michael,   You might take a look at San Antonio, when "S. A." was broken up into smaller pieces, well you come to your own conclusions. Doesn't seem to have their version of DCC, no Todd Williams (that takes out DMN, WFAA,Mayor Mike, Uplift,Bush Institute,and ,Committ. And lets not forget your beloved Review Board).

Barklouder
Barklouder

Mike Miles recruited nationally and he ended up with Leslie Williams, Shirley Newsome, Israel Cordero principal of a low performing school for six years, Stephanie Elizalde served 8 months as STEM director, Desiree Arias a former JL Long Principal who pulled an Ebby Haliday scenario against Lakewood parents, Ed Conger principal of a school with the most number of cheese deaths and cases, and Eva Casas who-is-she director of What department. Really? These people are the best of the current DISD leadership? You mean there are no other prinicipals out there with proven breakthrough education reform initiative? DISD is a hopeless district.

The Truth Hurts
The Truth Hurts

I agree completely. In-district charters which compete for talent, where parents have complete open enrollment and access to understandable school performance data, where operators have to perform or lose their license to operate at the district-managed but taxpayer-owned real estate is the way to go. There will never be a better impetus for change than unleashing educators and empowering informed parents. It will always win out over top- down command-and-control management from a single leader.

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