Four teachers mentioned to me last week their fear that Michelle Rhee might get the top education job in Dallas. She didn’t, but is Mike Miles enough different to make them breathe easier? Probably not.
Here’s the DISD video of his press conference, at which he was named sole finalist. Under Texas law and regulation, a district must name a sole finalist, and then wait a period before confirming the appointment.
Miles, a former Army Ranger and Foreign Service officer, leads a school district serving part of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Harrison District #2. He’s led the 11,000 student district since 2006; Dallas has 157,000 students.
Dallas ISD sent a notice to employees late Tuesday afternoon about Miles’s designation as superintendent-to-be:
Dallas Independent School District’s Board of Trustees have named Mike Miles as the lone finalist for the district’s superintendent position.
Trustees have been conducting a nationwide search for a new superintendent that included receiving input from several stakeholder groups.
Miles, 55, has served as Superintendent for the Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs since fall 2006. He is known as an innovator and reformer who is changing the face of public education. His ideas and innovations around systems thinking, measuring teacher and principal effectiveness and building an adaptive organization have been recognized by national education institutes and have been adopted by numerous districts around the country.
Under his leadership, Harrison County District Two has experienced increased graduation rates and improved student achievement.
“The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees is thrilled with our selection of Mike Miles as the lone finalist for Superintendent of Schools,” said Lew Blackburn, President of the Board. “Mr. Miles has spent his entire life serving the public and has a proven track record of success. Not only will his life story serve as an inspiration to our students, he is a recognized leader who is focused on student results. Today is a great day for the Dallas Independent School District.”
Mike Miles is a former Army Ranger who graduated from West Point in 1978. He then 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 and literature 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 and earned a master’s degree in 1989. The same year, he joined the U. S. Department of State as a policy analyst at the Soviet desk, and then from 1990 to 1995 as diplomat in Moscow and Warsaw at the end of the Cold War.
Miles and his family returned home to Colorado Springs in 1995 where he started as a high school teacher in his alma mater school district – Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8. Miles continued to grow professionally and held other positions such as middle school principal, coordinator of administration services and from 2003 to 2006 served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, in the same school district.
Currently, Miles also serves as an educational consultant and motivational speaker for school districts and other public organizations around the state of Colorado. 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.
The Dallas ISD School Board plans to officially approve hiring Miles on Thursday, April 26. If approved, Miles is slated to begin work Monday, July 2.
Miles’s experience at the Soviet desk may prove useful in his work to understand various bureaucracies inside DISD (I hope I’m being overly, cynically sarcastic). One might wonder how a leader could come from an Army Ranger background, but turn around to advocate pay-for-performance for teachers, as he did in Colorado. Miles said he has no plans to do anything like that in Dallas, at least not without studying Dallas’s situation more.
Maybe more comments here, later. Still have too much in the in box to write a lot here.
- Dallas Morning News (DMN) editorialist William McKenzie offers advice on making the leap from a smallish Colorado school district to the massive Dallas ISD. McKenzie focuses on education issues for the editorial page. McKenzie urged Miles to keep on CPA Alan King who serves as interim superintendent, complimenting King for getting rid of “under-performing teachers.” McKenzie didn’t note, maybe doesn’t know, that Miles’ record in Harrison District #2 might earn him the axe under King’s mysterious criteria for firing teachers– Miles is overeducated (probably should read, “high priced”) and underperforming, not yet having taken the district to the top levels of testing achievement; interesting concept.
- DMN education beat writer Matthew Haag traveled to Colorado Springs to scope out Miles’s record
- McKenzie found Coloradans who praise Miles, don’t want him to go
- Mostly glowing article about Miles’s performance as superintendent from 2010, in Colorado Springs’s newspaper, The Gazette; this is the longest, most complete profile I found so far