DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – And then there was one.
Mike Miles has spent the last five and half years as superintendent for the Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Miles won’t make it to year six, because he’s taking over the same job for the Dallas Independent School District.
“I promise you one thing. I’ll wake up every day doing my very best for the children of Dallas,” Miles told reporters Monday during a news conference.
Miles was named the lone finalist for DISD’s vacant superintendent position. State law requires districts to name lone finalists for their top posts, followed by a 21-day waiting period, before actually awarding the job.
The 55-year-old is a graduate of West Point, an Army Ranger and a former diplomat for the U.S. State Department, where he worked in the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Years after the Cold War ended, Miles left his government job to become a teacher. He worked his way up the education system and landed the top post for the Harrison School District Two in the fall of 2006.
Miles comes to DISD in the wake of massive budget cuts and layoffs. He also faces basic challenges with the district’s student population.
“Many of our kids are challenged by poverty. Many of our kids don’t speak English as their first language. Many of our kids have troubled backgrounds,” said Miles. “That’s a challenge in and of itself.”
Miles’ biggest challenge may come down to simple math. He’s leaving a district with just over 11,000 students to run one with 157,000 students.
“You can’t change anything significantly until you hear from the staff and from the community,” he explained. “I got to be in the classroom. Got to see what’s going on in the school. I’ll be doing a lot of listening and learning over the next two or three months, Miles added.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was on hand for the introduction of the new superintendent. The mayor has publicly taken an active role in the district.
Rawlings says he hopes the hiring of Miles will end some bitter disagreements.
“I hope the board coalesces around him and gives him a clear vision about what they want and it’s not divisive,” Rawlings told reporters Monday.
Miles’ first day of work at DISD is scheduled for July 2. However, he says he wants to start well before then.
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