Beloved Sunset High Principal Anthony Tovar Says He Will Leave Dallas ISD After All

Thumbnail image for AnthonyTovarSunset.jpg
Until Tuesday, beloved Sunset High School Principal Anthony Tovar intended to resign at the end of this school year, a development seized by critics of Dallas ISD who say so-called reforms are driving away top talent. But then Tovar rescinded, saying he would stay on as principal. All was well.

And then, last night at Sunset, while addressing an audience of parents, teachers and DISD alumni at a PTA rally supporting him, Tovar shocked the crowd by announcing that he is in fact retiring.

Tovar was one of more than 60 principals placed on "growth plans" by DISD, a controversial program expected to result in many of them being fired. Though he was on a DISD growth plan, Tovar told the Observer after the rally that he wasn't being forced out of his position, and no one told him "you're gone, you're out." He declined to elaborate on his change of heart.

See also:
Part Coach, Part Cheerleader, Sunset High Principal Anthony Tovar Aims to Prove That Inner-City Schools Can Be Winners

When he spoke to the audience, Tovar talked about his three decades spent in DISD, four if you count his time as a student. He shared a story about the time his guidance counselor told him that white people were leaving Dallas for the suburbs, and many people would be looking to hire someone like him to help build houses.

He spoke at length about his love of teaching before saying that he had spoken with friends and family before deciding to "go with the original plan to retire." Many people in the audience gasped. Tovar ended his speech saying, "I hope we made a difference here," his voice cracking.

After Tovar addressed the audience, Ray de los Santos of LULAC moderated a question and answer session with DISD Trustee Eric Cowan, Sunset Feeder Pattern Executive Director Desiree Arias, Assistant Superintendent Rafael Dominguez and Chief of School Leadership Sylvia Reyna. The questions and comments echoed oft-mention frustration with DISD policy and procedure. Among the concerns is the move away from block scheduling for comprehensive high schools, a dearth of bilingual teachers, and the transparency of the research DISD uses to make policy decisions.

As the evening continued people began shouting directly at the panel.

"You want to talk about bonuses," said one man, "give the money to the teachers where it belongs."

One teacher said that because of the new standards and requirements she cried more in this past year than in her previous three of teaching. She said that Tovar was the only person who gave any encouragement to the teachers.

"He has backed us and supported us more than anyone," she said.

"This school doesn't need to change anymore than it has in the last six years," said retired teacher Bill Betzen. "It needs to keep doing what it's doing."

Betzen also challenged the panel to address a list of concerns presented by the PTA. The PTA listed in a slideshow issues like inconsistent performance reviews in different feeder patterns, and problems with event registration, including Sunset's prom. Betzen asked if DISD could take all of the material they listed and answer each issue directly. Arias said they could have that done by the next PTA meeting on May 7.


My Voice Nation Help
21 comments
shannon0857
shannon0857

Thank you for all the kind, generous, and supportive things being said about my dad. I couldn't be more proud of him!

bbetzen
bbetzen

In attempts to understand the abuse of one of the most productive and effective principals in DISD it is increasingly clear that there is at least one DISD board member with a significant conflict of interest.  He serves dropouts from a location half way between the two most improved high schools in all of DISD since 2006, Sunset and Adamson. If these two schools continue to improve the next 6 years at the same rate they have improved over the past 6 years, there will be no dropouts for Dallas Can to serve.  Who is in an administrative position at Dallas Can?  The President of the DISD Board of Directors.  We are now asking for signatures on a petition for the conflicts of interest to be eliminated on the Board of Directors.  Go to http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2013/04/conflict-of-interest-on-dallas-isd-board.html.  Study the graphic at the top of the page, then click on the petition at the bottom of the page.  Your questions are welcome.   This is a sad day for DISD but we can turn it around.

TexasCanDropouts
TexasCanDropouts

Lew Blackburn is the chief business officer of Texas Can Academy since 2006. They feed off from Dallas ISD dropouts.

bbetzen
bbetzen

Ask yourself who benefits if the danger of an eventual 90%+ graduation rate at Sunset is eliminated. Look at the charter school 16 blocks to the east of Sunset that lives off dropouts. Who is second in command there? Is it the chairman of the DISD Board? Oh, do we have a conflict of interest? The rising graduation rate in DISD has certainly become an increasing threat to Dallas Can Academy. Look at their web site and consider what a true 90%+ graduation rate would do with their potential pool of students.

DumbMiles
DumbMiles

By the way, Desiree Arias is former principal of J L Long Middle School who once locked her school doors for parents. She banned parents from coming to her schools because she was so annoyed by their parental involvement. Another WTF!

DumbMiles
DumbMiles

Dallas ISD: Embracing our Dumbness. Good principals are being forced out to make way for Miles fellows. WTF.

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

That Tovar was put on a growth plan by people like Arias, Reyna and Dominguez (under the "leadership" of Miles), says it all.

Miles probably pegged Sunset as a school filled with children whose parents are too poor and uneducated to fight back when he ripped the principal out.  

Note that Miles seems to have left schools with white kids and involved parents alone despite low performance of the non-whites and a TRUE achievement gap between the white kids and the non-white kids.  If a school has white kids, the principal is left alone unless the principal does something really, really bad.

Miles will soon be asking for his $200,000 bonus while we lose Anthony Tovar.  That's rich.

Miles will also want another $5 million to fund his 2nd Principal's Academy where we pay 60 people a minimum of $60,000 to be trained to lead schools the way Miles wants.  Why are DISD kids paying to train principals?  Shouldn't the participants be paying?

And now the first set of "graduates" from Miles' academy have been told to find a job or leave DISD.  There aren't enough principal jobs open for them, so many have the choice of going back to the trenches (the classrooms) and lower pay, or going to another district.  All that money just flushed down the toilet.

Between the second round of $5 million and the $200K bonus he wants, Miles' lack of character comes shining through.  

joecook
joecook

REMEMBER -in all organizations it is the good people who leave voluntarily when they are told they are not wanted; the bad ones stay on and on until they finally upset the apple cart in an irrevocable way. I think Mr Tovar's leaving shows us what a classy person he is.

bbetzen
bbetzen

The following statement is on page 39 in this report linked at http://www.epi.org/files/2013/bba-rhetoric-trumps-reality.pdf .  It is about Michelle Rhee, a nationally known “education reformer” who was discredited within the past 10 days as knowing cheating had allowed the high scores she bragged about:

"Indeed, in Washington, D.C., teacher turnover was higher under Rhee and IMPACT than ever before, but apparently not due largely to the elimination of bad teachers, but rather to an increase in voluntary exits by experienced teachers as well as to their “excessing” and replacement by novices."

This is same process is now happening in Dallas ISD under Mike Miles.

Look at Mr. Tovar's decision and the hundreds of other decisions now being made by other DISD staff to resign.  Education is not going forward. While everything the education reform leaders are saying is not false, too much is. When the loss of our best is the outcome, does that bit of truth make any difference? We must search for the reasons some people want to destroy our public school systems. Is it simply personal gain from charter schools?

Additional documentation of issues at Sunset can be seen at http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/

bbetzen
bbetzen

Mr. Tony Tovar is the best principal in all of DISD! Central Office placing him on a so-called “growth plan” is a strong reflection on Central Office as having no respect whatsoever for achievement combined with parental and community involvement and relationships with leadership. This lack of respect for parental involvement is even tragically reflected in the 2013/14 District Action Plan that the DISD Board is set to approve in the 4-25-13 Board Meeting. They don't even try to hide it! DISD is in real trouble!

Mr. Tovar has achieved since July 2006 a miraculous turnaround at a failing inner-city high school wherein the improvements are set to continue. Hopefully that rate of improvement will actually continue under new leadership. We must respect his decision and give him the most powerful and positive sendoff possible!

One way we can most honor his example is to carefully read and study a national study that came out on 4-18-13, the same day of this meeting at Sunset. It is a careful and detailed 95 pages going over the so called “education reforms” that are spreading all across the United States, and are now very painfully being forced on Dallas ISD. The report is online at http://www.epi.org/files/2013/bba-rhetoric-trumps-reality.pdf

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

I don't know what the fuss is about. Surely a principal who takes an active role in running his school, supports his teachers, provides both an example and gentle yet effective discipline for students and improves graduation rates can be replaced by a few more days of Pearson testing.


Oh, and a couple more Feeder Pattern Executive Directors and Chiefs of School Leadership.

joyce.foreman
joyce.foreman

Good principals will not be coming to DISD to work. Why would you?  The pressure from the Administraion is too much for them to deal with.  As I understand it,  Mr. Tovar resigned then rescinded his resignation and now he is resigning again after being called downtown for a meeting.  This is so sad.  I have never met Mr. Tovar, but have heard good things about what he was doing at Sunset.  I do remember prior to him getting there, it was always negative talk about what was going on at the school, but now you do not hear that.  Mike Miles says that it takes a good principal to make a school good.  I now wonder was does a good principal look like to him? 

Thank you Mr. Tovar.  We appreciate your dedication to DISD and the children. Just remember, God will fix it.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

Come on people, Tovar has been in the trenches at DISD for 30 years.  Do any of you think he was going to stay much longer?  He probably realizes, as anyone with half an eye for details and a quarter of brain would, that he has made all the change for the good he is going to be able to make.

DISD is not going to slim down the bureaucratic administration, it's not going to eliminate crony hires and good ol' boy contracts, it's not going to win the battle against charters; DISD is not going to change.  Ever.

Why? you ask?  Simple.  The parents of the majority of the students and the citizens of Dallas don't give enough of a shit to force DISD to change.  Parents aren't going to magically get more involved in their kids' education, citizens aren't going to magically start voting out the pack of scissor-bills and muckrakers who sit on the Board. Until those two things change, nothing else will help DISD.

bisonetta
bisonetta

Congratulations, Mayor Rawlings, Bill McKenzie, Jim Schutze, Mike Miles, and all the Rheeformers.  You have now set Sunset back a decade.  Stability was so needed at Sunset. How long has it been that a principal has remained there more than 2-3 years? None of you to whom we shall give credit for the continued chaos and instability of our schools would have ever been willing to step up,  do his job and stay even when offered promotions and more money.  Tovar should be canonized for the saint he is for staying with and believing in Sunset's community. I hope he gets the political appointment that Miles is so desperately seeking. 

Miles, how about a national search to replace Tovar? 

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

After Tovar addressed the audience, Ray de los Santos of LULAC moderated a question and answer session with DISD Trustee Eric Cowan,  Sunset Feeder Pattern Executive Director Desiree Arias, Assistant Superintendent Rafael Dominguez and Chief of School Leadership Sylvia Reyna"

Bloated Bureaucracy anyone ? It is nice to see  "TEAM LATINO"  From  the Super Friends Headquarters at Ross Avenue Make this personal appearance ! That has to be some progress for the folks sitting out in the Audience at least it wasn't an Anglo shoveling shit their direction !

 Sunset Feeder Pattern Executive Director WTF ?

bbetzen
bbetzen

@DISDTeacher Ask yourself who benefits if the danger of an eventual 90%+ graduation rate at Sunset is eliminated.  Look at the charter school 16 blocks to the east of Sunset that lives off dropouts.  Who is second in command there?  Is it the chairman of the DISD Board?   Oh, do we have a conflict of interest?   The rising graduation rate in DISD has certainly become an increasing threat to Dallas Can Academy.  Look at their web site and consider what a true 90%+ graduation rate would do with their potential pool of students.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

@DISDTeacherAnd now the first set of "graduates" from Miles' academy have been told to find a job or leave DISD.  There aren't enough principal jobs open for them, so many have the choice of going back to the trenches (the classrooms) and lower pay, or going to another district.  All that money just flushed down the toilet."

So here is how this will be done ....The  school board will make a few minor changes in the requirement to be  Principal most notable will be the one that requires the those who are will be expected to have the ( SKILL SET ) that just happens to be part of the Miles Principals academy 

DISDTeacher
DISDTeacher

@joyce.foreman Michelle Rhee has been publicly unmasked on the national stage; the turnaround is starting.

In addition to the DC cheating under her reign of terror, Rhee has also been questioned about her self-description as a "public school parent" even though at least 1 of her daughters attends they very pricey and very private Harpeth Hall in Nashville (the girls live there with their father).

Liars and cheaters calling themselves "reformers."  

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

sure it will change. it will get worse. you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. you can't force a kid to learn. in the poor parts of town full of junkies and crackheads who teach their kids not to learn, not to be discipined, how do we expect teachers to enforce any discipline or order in their overcrowded classes? or if trying to get some sense of order, to then get any teaching done? can't really discipline a kid anyways, without going to jail. we now live in a world where kids say 'gimme the car keys and some money, or i'll turn you into CPS". most of the parents didn't get their butts whipped enough when they were kids.

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...