DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles has formally issued his resignation.
Miles made the announcement during a morning news conference at DISD headquarters. After having briefly addressed the room, Miles said, “I’ve decided that now is the time where I can step aside as Superintendent, confidently knowing that the work will continue with the current leadership team in place.”
Latino community leader Rene Martinez strongly supported Miles. Not anymore.
“He was his own worst enemy,” said Martinez of LULAC. “He listened to small group of people that had hidden agendas. For those with no hidden agenda he didn’t listen to us.”
Miles didn’t directly address the criticism, but said in a one-on-one interview with CBS11’s Steve Pickett, he said his leaving won’t overshadow his reforms for the school system.
“I think people who didn’t like the decisions that it’s a win for them. I think our team contributed to the success of Dallas ISD,” Miles said.
During the news conference, Miles also acknowledged he knew there was a tough job ahead of him when he accepted the position. “When I arrived three years ago Dallas ISD was ready for change. There was broad recognition that we couldn’t continue to do the things that we’ve always done.”
Saying that he knew he was being asked to take the district into “uncharted waters,” he said he and his team, “… knew that we would have to make the tough decisions that few others were prepared to make, and that many would oppose.”
Miles said he believes that educating students is the most important work of our time and that his job was to put in place the “critical” pieces needed to make a transformation. “Similar to the construction of a new building, you have to first put in place the foundation in order for the entire building to be strong. An effective teacher in every classroom… an effective leadership team in every school… and higher expectations of staff and students.”
Miles also said that the transformation of a large, urban school district takes time, but that, “…with the support of the board and the community, we were able to accomplish an incredible amount in just three years.”
Miles listed 10 of the major accomplishments that he and his team were able to achieve, including:
- Developing and implementing the most rigorous Pay For Performance evaluation system for teachers in the nation
- Increasing the school district fund balance from $180 million to $350 million
- Having the largest student achievement growth of any large school district in Texas, that is also challenged by poverty
- Improved the graduation rate from 81- to 86-percent
- Establishing the national standard for the number of minority students passing the advanced placement exams
Miles went on to talk about transforming the teacher recruitment process and developing a public school Choice Program that he said, “…will ensure that we are able to open 35 Choice Schools by the year 2020.”
Miles said that he and his team had accomplished a lot and that he knew of no other school district that has been able to do as much in the same period of time. Moving forward Miles said, “The team that we have assembled is committed to sustainable positive change for our students, to build an even stronger, better Dallas ISD.”
Miles will continue as Superintendent until the Board of Trustees meeting on June 25. Officials with the school district said Deputy Superintendent Ann Smisko will assume the Acting Superintendent role and handle day-to-day operations.
School board trustees didn’t receive formal notice about the decision or announcement until just before 8:00 a.m.
Among other things, Miles faced criticism after incidents that led to the resignation of two human resources administrators and firing of three school principals.
In May, Miles survived a vote that would have forced him to tender his resignation. Instead, trustees reprimand Miles regarding his leadership and issued a “Letter of Concern.” A large, split crowd of people, wanting the Superintendent fired or kept, protested outside School District headquarters as the vote was taken.
The vote came after Trustees Joyce Foreman, Elizabeth Jones and Bernadette Nutall argued that their request to discuss Miles’ performance was denied by DISD School Board President Miguel Solis. The three trustees had called for a board meeting, to include public discussion, back in February.
It hasn’t been three weeks since Miles praised youngsters and those under his leadership for a great school year.
Since 2012 Miles has been in charge of the second-largest school district in the state, with some 20,000 employees and more than 160,000 students. He came to Dallas after years as a teacher, middle school principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent of a school district in Colorado Springs.
After having spoke about spending two years in Dallas without his family Miles said it was time for him to return to Colorado. “At the end of the day when you make a decision of this importance… there’s a lot of things that come into play. And so I have to determine whether or not the foundation is set, whether we’ve accomplished enough and whether or not we can continue to move forward, and then I also have to balance that with my family responsibilities.”
Chad Woolery served the district from December 1993 to August 1996, when he left to take another job. Yvonne Gonzalez then took the position, but was fired less than a year later after the FBI began investigating her lavish spending. She ultimately served 10 months in prison.
James Hughey was Acting DISD Superintendent from 1997 until August of 1999. Waldemar “Bill” Rojas then took over and lasted until July of 2000, when he was fired because of a bad relationship with trustees. Leader Mike Moses came on-board in 2001 and voluntarily resigned in 2004.
Michael Hinojosa is the district’s longest serving leader in recent history, working from 2005 until 2011. He left to take another job.
Mike Miles was asked what changed and why he made to decision to leave. He said, “We have laid a great foundation. we are moving forward. we’ve accomplished a lot. it’s time. it’s the end of the school year, it’s time for a good transition.”
At the close of his statements Miles said simply, “It has been a privilege to serve this community and the staff and students of Dallas ISD. I will always be grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and the common toil and struggle of a city dedicated to the education of all children and whose best days are still in front of it.”
Miles said the details of his severance package are still being discussed. Now DISD leaders set out to hire their 8th Superintendent in 19 years.
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