With Jennifer Sprague Gone, Mike Miles Turns Over a New Leaf

jennifer-sprague.jpeg
On Friday evening, after schools had closed and most everything else was winding down for the holiday, the Morning News reported DISD communications chief Jennifer Sprague is resigning.

Sprague's abrupt departure is the surest sign yet that Superintendent Mike Miles' administration is in crisis. She was one of his most high-profile hires, and Miles went to the mat to defend her selection and her outsized salary. The news was big enough that district officials saved it for the eve of a holiday weekend, when relatively few people were paying attention.

Why Sprague would choose to resign now, long after the buzz surrounding her salary and dismal early performance had died down, is murky and will probably remain so.

Maybe the answer is simple. Sprague realized she was overmatched, that her time in Colorado Springs hadn't at all prepared her to cope with the challenges posed by an enormous, politically complicated urban school district like DISD. Maybe no amount of money would have been enough to convince her to stay.

The tea leaves hint at a different story. The news of Sprague's departure broke the day after an uncharacteristically contrite Miles appeared before the Morning News' editorial board and conceded that, yes, maybe he had paid administrators too much and that maybe, just maybe, he should have entertained other candidates for certain top positions. That, in turn, came a day after Miles called a completely reasonable and by all indications accurate internal audit a "witch hunt".

This suggests two possibilities. One is that Sprague masterminded Miles' inept PR strategy until her boss finally wised up and sent her packing. But that would require one to believe that Miles submits blindly to the advice of a 35-year-old subordinate that doesn't fit with his character. The other, more likely scenario is that Miles needed a scapegoat and that, as DISD Blog phrased it, Sprague is getting "up close and personal with the underside of a bus."

That's not necessarily a terrible outcome. Sprague will be fine, particularly if her severance package is half as generous as her salary.

(She didn't seem to be too distraught. On Saturday, she sent out only her second Tweet that isn't a quote from a Roosevelt.)

As for Miles, the fact that he pushed Sprague out -- if that is, in fact, what happened -- and expressed contrition, signal that he's taken note of his missteps and realizes that, if left uncorrected, they will undermine his entire agenda. As bad as the past couple of months have been for Miles, he's only been on the job for six months. There's still plenty of time to turn things around, if that's what Miles wants to do.

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15 comments
kcplash
kcplash

This man need to be investigated.

ItsElementary
ItsElementary

If the BOT will give Mike Miles a slap in the wrist for calling the audit a witchunt and an ambush, then expect that every principal, teacher, or staff who misappropriate funds will only get a slap in the wrist. If, after the audit finds that Mike Miles misspent millions of dollars wont get him fired, then spending campus activity funds by principals and teachers is just a drop in the bucket.

The audit findings will be a test on the morals and commitment of the Board to the city and taxpayers. They make a mistake on this audit report and that's the end of the public's trust in DISD and the system. Of course the low income families will still send their children to public school but what's the worth of their education? I guess the five pillars of characters that we always teach our students are only for students not for adults in Ross Avenue.

ItsElementary
ItsElementary

I'm a teacher and want to resign. Can I get severance pay too? Miles keep on giving perks to his chiefs even if they part ways already. DISD keeps on wasting taxpayers money. Miles thinks his Santa Claus only he gives gifts to adults not the children. Thieves abound n DISD. Sauceda stole something and all she got was a choice to resign not prosecution. I'm sure Sprague and Newsome have some dirt on Miles but they too can be kept quiet. Alan King resigned and thank goodness he left some traces that point to Miles' crookedness. We keep on blaming the legislature, testing, and privatization of education as the causes of the decline of public education. The real problem is in our own backyard, that is DISD and its mismanagement.

WatchingSoutDetroit
WatchingSoutDetroit

Before anyone talks about a new Mike Miles, let's get the details of Sprague's severance package.  He gave Isom-Newsome a years salary after a history of mismanagement and theft (credit card scandal) - and said that was normal business.  If he gives Sprague a year's salary (or worse) as a severance after working in Dallas for 6 months (with a ridiculous bloated salary), then Miles will show that spending taxpayer money on administration like monopoly money will continue.  Miles needs earn trust back by actions - not just by a different PR campaign.

AbigailAdams
AbigailAdams

And no, there is no time left for Miles.  He is hated and dissrespected on the campuses.  Check out my next post (coming soon) about why Miles is stick-a-fork-in-him done in DISD.

AbigailAdams
AbigailAdams

The board of trustees is at the root of DISD's problems.  This is why we must Vote. Them. Out.

flyflyaway17
flyflyaway17

@louie_xviii @jenlb2010 now that the overpaid lady is gone, I think we should divy up her salary & buy school supplies! Colored pens anyone?

lemonaioli
lemonaioli

Not surprising yet another laughable moment by DISD. Why do people send their kids to those DISD schools again?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Any chance you can dig up what her severance package actually was? That should be public record.

ItsElementary
ItsElementary

@AbigailAdams it doesn't work, Abigail. Vote them out and here comes another one with the same color.

James080
James080

@oakclifftownie  

Your tax dollars working for you. 

Why are government employees convicted of crimes involving their employment (theft, fraud, embezzlement and the like) allowed to keep their public pensions?

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