A committed group of Dallas citizens said they want DISD’s next superintendent to be an education reformer who understands budgets. KERA’s Bill Zeeble attended one of two sessions last night seeking public input for the superintendent search, and has more.
They only numbered 30 or so, but the passionate variety of residents in W.T. White’s auditorium told a representative of the Dallas school district’s search firm just what they want in the district’s next leader. Several, like Dallas Chamber of Commerce Vice President Dena Jackson, stressed the need to hire the best.
Jackson: This includes teachers in the classroom such as individuals that we’ve had come from Teach for American, it includes having the best principals in the schools. We believe principals are CEOs of small businesses and they should be treated as such and provided the opportunity to advance their initiatives.
Jackson said a quality education is not just an economic development issue, but one of social justice. Every child, she said, deserves the best public education the district can provide. Mayra Hurtado is with the Texas Organizing Project, a kind of social justice organization. Her group wants a leader who will reform discipline policies.
Hurtado: Currently there is no consistent approach to discipline within DISD, and many schools’ students are being suspended or expelled and sent to alternative schools unjustly.
Other speakers desire a superintendent who will seek out and inspire parental involvement. Retired DISD employee Carlos Tapia wants a leader who not only demands high academic achievement, but understands accounting. Under Michael Hinojosa, the district suffered a disastrous shortfall of at least $60 million dollars because of poor accounting.
Tapia: So I hope a new superintendent will be able to read a financial statement and see trends that are coming that may be putting the district in danger.
These were just a handful of voices in one school auditorium. There was a simultaneous session last night in South Oak Cliff High. with two more meetings tonight and two more tomorrow. There’s also an online survey asking what people want in the next superintendent. Four hundred have responded so far. The district’s search firm will compile the input so trustees can assemble their list of demands they hope the next superintendent can meet.
January 10 6:30-8 p.m. - Moises E. Molina High School Auditorium - 2355 Duncanville Road
January 10 6:30-8 p.m. - Woodrow Wilson High School Auditorium - 100 S. Glasgow
January 11 6:30-8 p.m. - Dallas ISD Administration Building Board Room - 3700 Ross Avenue
January 11 6:30-8 p.m. - James Madison High School Auditorium - 3000 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Link to DISD online survey: https://proact.wufoo.com/forms/dallas-superintendent-search-survey/