Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Pick Enoch

After reading and talking and researching, if I had to choose a superintendent, I would choose Steven Enoch.

Pros - experienced, enthused, open to new ideas, nothing to prove, not using SPS as a stepping stone to next job, able to claim good academic outcomes for his district, keeps up with new educational ideas

Cons - had already planned to retire, possible financial issues at one district

Folks, there is no perfect superintendent.  But I can see Enoch interacting well with the Board.  His enthusiasm would match theirs for progress and new ideas.   He wants to listen, to learn and to interact with teachers and parents.  

For someone who was about to retire, he seemed to still have fire in his belly for this work.

Second choice would be Banda but by a hair.  I think he is a little too green to step into a job this big and complex with the issues we have today.  But he seems to be bright, caring and someone would could communicate well with many people.

Husk is bright and savvy but her ambition shows and it is worrisome to me.  I have a nagging doubt that there is a second offer and that it might be a ploy to get the Board to worry about "losing another one."  The governance issue and her lack of understanding the issues here in SPS is troubling.   Frankly, I see some red flags and feel my gut saying no. 

I urge ALL of you to e-mail the Board tonight or first thing in the morning with your thoughts.  E-mail them at
schoolboard@seattleschools.org

38 comments:

mirmac1 said...

Okay, how's this:

Mr. Enoch because he's a humble, unassuming rock star that doesn't trumpet that he's "what we're looking for"; then

Mr. Banda when Mr. Enoch is ready for that fishing rod and Banda is ready to leave the California sunshine for Seattle. I would welcome him with open arms.

Anonymous said...

I emailed the board this afternoon as suggested.

My gut also said the same:

First, Enoch, second Banda, and a distant third, Husk.

Enoch seems ready to go out of the gate and a good fit for the Seattle community, to me.

Although Banda does not seem to have as much experience as Enoch, he seems like he has good interpersonal skills and life experiences that would keep him grounded and focused on what's really important to the community. He would have to do some on the job learning for sure.

Husk is polished, but she would be a distant third pick for me. I worry that she is not the right fit for our community right now.

FedMomof2

Watching said...

I vote Enoch, Banda and hope Husk doesn't stand a chance.

Enoch has a skeleton in his closet, but seems to be well explained. Subsequent employment resulted in $80M to see the district through tough times. To me, the later verifies credibility. Enoch has a proven record of innovation which includes building green and technology. The district is sure to save dollars through energy effeciency. He has the ability to shake things up- in a good way.

Banda is really my favorite. Seems like a sincere gentleman. I'd worry he might try and get too much collaboration..similar to Raj Manhas and wouldn't be able to get anything done. His record of improving scores for ELL is impressive. I like that he is a man from humble beginnings.

Husk, well, too many red flags going off for me. DUI, consultant for search firm that hired her etc. I suspect she knows Enfield. Recently released documents that show her governance style of removing board from decisions bothers me; I like the voices of our elected officials representing me. A particular policy showed the board wouldn't be informed dispute resolutions due to "privacy" issues is dangerous. From my perspective, Husk is a no go.

Jan said...

I concur Melissa. While I have no doubt that Dr. Husk could go to the mat with anyone, I worry that her need to keep her eye on the next opportunity (and not infuriate the shadow board and those who hire and finance them) may prevent her from really giving this District her best shot, calling people's bluffs, and saying "no" (you CAN'T have your SLU school in the face of so many more pressing needs, for example) to those unaccustomed to hearing that word. And we need someone who has no compunctions about doing all those things -- because there has been way too much interference from the political and business side in Seattle for way too long. MGJ loved it; Dr. E, I think, did not, but was too entangled by the time her day came -- and wisely decided to start over somewhere where she could get a clean start on her terms (at least I hope, and like to think, that is what she is doing). This board won't be healthy until DeBell, Carr, and Martin Morris are gone or marginalized to the point where the shadow board finds no further use for them and they (or at least DeBell and Carr) can maybe find their own voices. But it would not be a good situation for someone who can be influenced by threats (overt or implied) to ruin her future career trajectory if she doesn't give them airtime, access, influence, etc.

If she is truly interested in advancing her career, I hope she finds someplace with no Sara Morris, no Lisa MacFarlane, no Chris Korsmo, no Nick Hanauer or Jon Bridge, no Dean Stritikus -- or if not, somewhere at least where their policies and influence help, rather than destroy, a District. Because while I wish her the best, I would hate to see her rise by harming a District -- which is what I think MGJ did here, and I want to see this District freed from the oppressive meddling of these folks.

As for the other 2 -- what you (and mirmac 1) said.

Jan said...

As for "Watchings" comment -- I had not seen anything saying the Board wouldn't be informed of dispute resolutions due to "privacy" issues. If that is her position -- that is just flat out bad judgment. There is nothing that the board should not be able to know, based on "privacy" grounds. They are the board. The buck ultimately stops with them. That is why we elected them. I agree there is stuff maybe I cannot know on privacy grounds -- but Kay, Betty, Sharon, Marty, et. al? There had better be NOTHING they can't be told!

Po3 said...

I pick Enoch...hands down and head and shoulders above the crowd.

Thanks to Melissa (again) for all your hard work getting great info out! And to the WS blog and King 5 news and Seattle Times.

If I had to go to the polls on Tuesday I know I would be an informed voter.

But it is the hands of 7 people.

Disgusted said...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/91249825/Husk-record-at-Salem-Keizer-district

This document causes great concern. Husk seeks to eliminate board control to the extent of with-holding information under the guise of "privacy". I find this incredibly disturbing and dangerous.

We have a dysfunctional board with DeBell at the helm. Watch him, he seeks to gain control of the entire board and superintendent. His passive- aggressive style works wonders. I'd like to throw Enoch in there and see what happens. A new superintendent would change the dynamic and that is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Banda does not appear to have much experience making special education work. It did not come out in his interview. Nobody could find information about special education in his current district.

Husk's comments were inarticulate.

That leaves Enoch on special education. It seems there is a strong parent involvement in his current district. I am not sure it's saying much, though. The culture in this system is not just anti special education, it is anti special education families. The district's work with families through the SEAAC and the Special Education PTSA is a whole lot of window dressing. Whoever is selected, it won't really matter for special education students, families, and teachers, unless the board stops allowing everybody to keep making the same old excuses.

Parent

Anonymous said...

I pick Banda then Enoch. As a teacher who has had to suffer the slings and arrows of the new ideas of the moment for years -

how about some ideas which work?

I don't distrust Enoch.

Dora has a great piece on Dr. Husk, and, most importantly, Dr. Husk's lack of use for a pesky school board:

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/the-superintendent-candidates-for-seattle-public-schools-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/

Haven't we been down this road?

I'm sure Directors DeBell, Martin Morris and Carr will vote as they always vote -- what do the Big Boyz of Billy's A$tro Turf$ think is important? These 3 Directors can pretty much count on the support of Burgess and Knapp, who love their little behind the scenes Power Player roles, so ALL can tell the world that ALL the city and ALL the teachers like what Billy'$ A$tro Turf$ like ...

and then there are the rest of us

PeskyPeeOns

Anonymous said...

No brainer.

Enoch.

Now that we all agree, isn't it obvious they will choose Husk!

-Have a good weekend

Charlie Mas said...

There is a strong sense in the District central administration that the Board is part of the public, not part of the District. A loud and influential part of the public, but part of the public nonetheless. As members of the public they should not be allowed access to information, they should not be trusted, and their input should be ignored.

Anonymous said...

I like Banda. Took a second look at the candidates and Mr. Banda's one term Superintendency does not scare me off. His school district demographic is far poorer than Seattle and has big achievement gaps to deal with given the number of ELL and FRL students. He focused on how to improve the academics and did so for those kids. That's telling given the cash strap CA economy these days. He appears no nonsense, calm, and projects a common sense can do attitude.

I didn't get an impression that Seattle Superintendent job is just a career stepping stone for him. I think he is willing to take on SPS issues and stay to see things through. I think he wants successful results far more than a feather in his CV cap.

Mr. Enoch will also be a fine match for SPS. I think if he gets the job it will be a place to rest his career hat on. How long he will stay will depend on his tenacity because in truth, he can retire and ride off in the sunset anytime. I like his experiences.

They both will have some serious on the job learning about Seattle politics and SPS institutional politics. Judging by the number of e-mails Mr. Treat received from various pressure groups (SPS leaks provided), you can easily get weighted down by the inconsequentials and mind numbing, endless internet yakety yaks. I hope the board will pick either of these two candidates. I hope the next superintendent will have the sensibility, stamina, and yes foresight to forge SPS a new brighter path.

PS mom

Eric B said...

I emailed and recommended either Enoch or Banda. I would slightly prefer Enoch, but could see either one as a Supe here. Husk raises too many red flags on transparency.

Watching said...

I have a feeling Enoch can handle Seattle politcs.

Banda doesn't seem to stay in positions for a long period of time. Still, he has to be complemented on his ability to advance academics in a time of decreasing resources with ELL and disadvantaged students.

Parent and Teacher said...

I'm a strong "no" on Enoch and Husk. Husk for all the already-stated reasons.

Enoch might be able to handle all the Seattle politics, but I see that as a mark against him. I'd like someone who is interested in working with the board, working with the community, working with teachers, and who is focused on collaborating to make our schools really great. I think Enoch's in it for political reasons alone, to end his career in a nice, high social security tier and to finish on a stronger note than the financial scandel in San Juan SD. I don't think he cares about what he could do here for our students, and I don't think he'll do a good job in creating a team downtown.

Banda seems invested, ready to listen, ready to put some heat on our administrators, and ready to work with the community.

Po3 said...

Hows about Enoch for Super, Banda for asst super?

Juana said...

I totally agree with Po3! Enoch to get us out of this mess and Banda to learn and provide needed continuity at that position. Husk, another Enfield or MGJ - no way!

dw said...

Enoch AND Banda? Sounds like a dream team, for exactly the reasons that Juana said, but it'll never happen. You'd need to pay 2 supe salaries (why would either come in at less than that?), and it would be incredibly hard to believe that someone in Banda's position would come in here as 2nd fiddle.

The only possible way it could happen is if they worked together with an explicit plan that Enoch was planning to leave after a couple years and that Banda would get the job after that. But that's not the supe's role to decide on a successor; it would totally depend on the Board at that time.

It's fun to dream about, but that's all it is, an exercise in creative dreaming.

Someone said...

Spiffy idea Po3

This is part of what I said in my email to board:

"Two candidates stand out to me as being what SPS needs at this
critical juncture - solid, upstanding, caring and intelligent - people
who put students first in action not just words, people who show
evidence of valuing teachers"

Anonymous said...

I started with a firm "do NOT pick Husk" then outlined my reasons. I also noted that we had fled SPS because of leadership issues. I know the board cares little about us ship-jumpers, but it doesn't hurt to remind them of the number of families — especially here in the southend — they have lost.

SolvayGirl

Anonymous said...

Don't we have an Asst. Super in Mr. Noel Treat who's leaving? So why not the 2-some for our team?

PS mom

Juana said...

Good point, PS mom! I will point that out in my email to the board.

Anonymous said...

Can someone post the email addresses of the board so we can email in support of Enoch and Banda?

Thanks,
Future Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

Never mind, I found it in the article.

FHP

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea, PS mom. Both Enoch and Banda!

Like others above, I emailed the same order of preference: 1st Enoch, 2nd Banda. I did not list a 3rd and questioned why Husk was even being considered.

- Constanze

Anonymous said...

Had to whip this out at work but this is what I sent:

Hello,

I will be a Seattle Public School parent for the first time next year when my daughter transitions from a private grade school to Nathan Hale High School as a freshman. With this imminent change, I have been very interested who will be the next superintendent. There are many varied reasons why we chose a private grade school and then decided on a public high school but one of them has been the recent changes at SPS. I am excited about SPS having a superintendent who listens to parents and teachers and isn't beholden to the private education reformers whom in recent years seem to have undue influence on SPS.

I have read the bios on all of the candidates, read reviews in the newspaper, read reviews on several prominent blogs, read transcripts of the interviews and watched the interviews. After all of this, I have come to believe that Mr. Enoch would be the best fit in Seattle with Mr. Banda a close second. I was not impressed at all with Ms. Husk and worry that it would be a return to some of the worst attributes of the recently fired superintendent, Ms. Goodlow-Johnson.

I do not envy you your job but I think if you pick one of the two gentlemen you will find that many parents in the community will be very happy with your selection.

Sincerely,
FHP

Anonymous said...

No surprise, but Crosscut seems to prefer Husk.

FHP

Melissa Westbrook said...

FHP, thank you for your input to the Board even as your are just coming into SPS. It will be good to have another interested parent in our fold.

Welcome to SPS (my son graduated from Hale and it was a good fit for him).

Anonymous said...

Thinks Melissa! What I didn't tell them is all this turmoil and crap was on the negative column for choosing a grade school and that is why we chose private. My son is older and is in private high school because there were still too many things in the negative column for SPS 2 years ago. With the departure of Goodloe-Johnson and the wonderful improvements I saw at Hale over the past couple of years, we decided that my daughter could go to Hale. It is really where she wants to be. Still a bit worried about the math program but we can always go online for that if need be.

FHP

Anonymous said...

Crosscut favors Husk? haha. That's the nail in her coffin for me.

My intuition (not always correct!) tells me she's an Enfield.

I prefer Banda but am concerned he may not be ready for the corporate board as it currently stands. If we had one more non-reformer, I'd say yes on Banda. So, I guess Enoch by one of the few remaining hairs on DeBell's head.

If Banda proves to be the choice, I'll give him all the support I can muster to keep him front and center and out of ambush range.

I believe in his values as I understand so far.

n...

Anonymous said...

Just caught up on a lot of articles . . . the Times article of April 30 shows a commenter accusing Enoch of being in love with technology. Hope that's not true. That would move Banda to the top for me.

n...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, one more . . .

The Crosscut article by Krupnik(?) indicated that Husk seemed the favorite at the end. I think that reflects her use of buzzwords and SPS-speak. She sounds like what we've had heretofore. There's comfort in familiarity but not change and change is what we need.

n...

mirmac1 said...

n.

Please DON'T go by anything the Times says. Granted Enoch has facilitated his district's move into 2012 and beyond. Would you rather spend $10M on technology to HELP teachers? Or technology to REPLACE teachers? Because that's the direction we're going if Gates, Bridge et al have a say. At least their money did not go towards a misguided, inaccurate VAM/SGP framework.

Anonymous said...

(Posted by Ed Voter)

From Rosenthal at the Times.

Seattle Public Schools has tapped a familiar face to oversee the transition to its next superintendent.

Bob Boesche, who temporarily stepped in as the district’s chief financial officer after last year’s financial scandal, will serve as interim deputy superintendent this summer.

“Bob has provided our district with leadership and integrity,” Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield announced in an email to staff, “The District is lucky to have him help oversee the transition to the new Superintendent, ensuring a smooth start to the 2012-13 school year.”

Enfield is leaving in June. Her deputy, Noel Treat, announced this week he will leave in May.

Cathy Thompson, the district’s top academic officer, announced earlier today that she, too, is leaving.

Boesche, who technically retired in 2001, has served in interim school-district leadership roles in several Puget Sound school districts, including Edmonds, Shoreline, Vashon Island, Monroe and Kent.

dw said...

Cathy Thompson, the district’s top academic officer, announced earlier today that she, too, is leaving.

Really?! [throws hat high in the air] Yippie!

Stu said...

You make strong, passionate, arguments for your picks; I agree with your assessment and recommendation. From the start, I felt that Husk was the coolest (in the "cold" way not the "neat" way) of the applicants, reminded me most of MGJ, had the least approachable style, and seemed to come with the most baggage in her personal life, her professional life, her ethical life, and her previous experiences.

That's why I'm 100% sure that the board will pick Husk.

stu

Juana said...

PLEASE urge your family, friends, neighbors and strangers to send an email to the board with the subject line of who your choice is (if NOT Husk). We can't afford (literally and academically) another person like MGJ (can't stand to even state her full name). Email to schoolboard@seattleschools.org

Juana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.