DISD's Mike Miles Explains Changes | KERA News

DISD's Mike Miles Explains Changes

May 22, 2012

New Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles today explained why he’s downsizing his administration. He says it’s his first step towards improving instruction.

Standing in front of a room full of reporters, new Dallas Superintendent Mike Miles was very clear about his vision for the school district. He wants to improve student achievement. And, he says that can only happen with good teachers.

Mike Miles: I always have to say something about a movie clip. So, I’m going to talk about Moneyball. Brad Pitt, in one of my favorite lines, says “If he’s such a good hitter, how come he doesn’t hit good.” As an educator, I know that’s poor grammar, okay. But, we have to have teachers who can hit good. Who can get on base. And, that means they have to raise student achievement.

But form has to follow function…Miles says restructuring his new administrative staff comes first. More than 60 executives lost their jobs last week, but can re-apply for 36 new positions.

Miles: I can’t tell from where they sat in a different system whether they are capable of doing this new job with these new functions, so that’s part of the interview process.

He says his decision to streamline was not about the bottom line. Instead, he says he wants a more efficient administration.

Miles: We’ll move to teacher effectiveness pretty quickly, but first I think its very tough to hold a teacher accountable for grade instruction or to raise student achievement if the leadership isn’t in place to get that job done too.

In Colorado Springs, Miles tied teacher performance to teacher pay. He also created an open door policy, where all teachers were required to leave their classroom doors open in an effort to create an environment of transparency. While Miles hasn’t decided if these measures will work in Dallas, he does intend to change the culture of Dallas schools.

Miles: We’re going to build a culture of feedback. You can expect principals to be in the classrooms a lot more frequently and you are going to be able to see them giving good instructional feedback to teachers. You are going to see assistant superintendents in schools a lot. You are going to be seeing me in schools a lot. So, as a teacher you should expect every day to be on your game.

Miles expects to have his administrative team in place by July 1, his first official day of work.