Friday, June 20, 2014

Banda Leaving Seattle Schools

 Update 4:  just returned from press conference.  It was interesting and I will have a full report later (I am just sitting down to eat something for the first time today.  Had an interview with both the Communications director and school board president in Sacramento.)

My belief is that Banda will be gone by July 17th( that is the earliest date the Sacramento board can vote him in as their new superintendent.)  But yes, I do believe he will be gone, baby, gone by the end of July.

End of update.

 He is letting staff know today.

I don't know where he is going (I have rumor that it is a district in San Jose, California.)

I suspect the Board will make Charles Wright the interim superintendent.

Update:  KUOW is reporting that he is a finalist for a job in Sacramento.  (My source tells me he has the job.)

From the KUOW story:

“Sacramento is an opportunity to go back to California, an opportunity to be closer to family,” Banda said. “As I near the latter part of my career, it’s an opportunity to get back into the retirement system that I spent almost my entire career in.”

I recall this as having been brought up as a possible issue when he was a candidate to come to Seattle.

Unlike Seattle’s public superintendent search processes, Sacramento was poised to vote on Banda’s contract on Thursday before even announcing that he was a finalist. The vote was postponed at the last minute after board members decided to visit Seattle next week.

Well, now that the cat's out of the bag, that seems a bit awkward.   He couldn't be more lame duck at this point and if he doesn't get the job?

Banda said he considers his greatest accomplishments as Seattle superintendent to be the 2013 capital and operations levies, worth a combined $1.3 million. He’s also proud of the district’s new strategic plan.

He leaves with two years left on his contract.

I don't want to hear anything about superintendents being pushed out.  He came, he hung around and now he's leaving.

Update 2:  letter from Banda - very bland.

I have a call into Sacramento to ask some questions.

Update 3:  Checking the search firm that Sacramento SD is using I see a somewhat familiar face.  One of the principals at the company, Leadership Associates, is Kent Bechler.  I know I have seen Mr. Bechler in the audience at a couple of district meetings in the recent weeks.  I had wondered who he was.

Update 4:
Letter from President Peaslee- She's being pretty nice in this letter; good for her.

The Sacramento job starts July 1st so he is gone, gone gone (if he gets it but I suspect he has it).

And yes, this was the big news I had been hinting at.

Press Conference at 1 pm; I'll be there.


mirmac1 said...

Okay, I suspected as much.

Anonymous said...

AFTER hiring this enormous parasite class at the top? What?

He's moving onto some Gate$ wink wink sinecure?

something is rotten


mirmac1 said...

I'm not happy about this. I think he was salvageable. Wright is wrong for the job. He thinks that a Strategic Plan will fix everything, when it is a lot of spinning your wheels.

Not sure to what extent this OSPI Coordinated Program Review had to do with this development but it reveals problems that have existed for years and no Strategic Plan would fix them. Takes mandated Corrective Actions.

Other interesting items from the A&F Quarterly Meeting.

Perhaps the board refused to extend Banda's contract at this time and he took that as sign to go.

Anonymous said...

I felt this coming - he has become so checked out. But I agree with InDenmark, he has made some unfortunate leadership hires and WRIGHT as interim is a nonstarter. Given his behavior and attitude at the recent Board retreat where he berated the public including the Board for legitimate questions ... that is not leadership.

reader 24

Holy Cow said...

Wright's department is a mess. I wouldn't want him for superintendent.

Isolde Raftery said...

KUOW's Ann Dornfeld has the story:

Eric B said...

Letter that just came in from the District says that he's a finalist for Sacramento, and that he won't leave unless he is selected. That said, he's clearly looking elsewhere, so isn't long-term here anyway.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Overall this is good news. Seattle now has an opportunity to lead the way toward better policies on testing, standards, and race and social justice. Banda wasn't going to stand up to the Gates types and lead. Now we can find someone who will. Time to organize to ensure the next superintendent is a good one.

Robert Cruickshank said...

As to the detail that he's not necessarily leaving yet, but is a finalist - he's from California, and it would not surprise me if he wanted to return there. Still a good opportunity for us.

Anonymous said...

It really is not a great loss.

He was not a good leader.

He pandered. He had the style of a weenie - 9 times out of 10, just do what politically is the least damaging to himself. That's not leadership. That's not even competence.

Wright is scary. He's total politics. But unlike Banda, he is slick and smart, so he could really lead the district astray.

Yes, chaos sucks, mismanagement sucks, but, how is it different from
What we have now?

I choose to believe that with Sue Peters in the mix, she won't rest until we have a genuinely great fit with an effective, experienced, no-bullshit leader.

Cautiously optimistic

mirmac1 said...

I remember when he said that he planned on sticking around for a long time - that he wasn't a serial career climber.

So much for that.

Anonymous said...

Everyone: write to the Board and urge them not to fall back on Wright. But maybe he already alienated them too.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I have no problem with Mr. Wright being the interim. I would have a problem with him getting the appointment without a search.

Greg said...

This is not surprising. It was clear for a while that Banda is more of a don't-rock-the-boat figurehead looking to jump for the next step in his career than someone trying to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our administration and operations.

Now that Banda is jumping ship, I hope we have a chance of getting someone in who is interested in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of operations. Ideal would be someone local, who is already in Seattle and plans on being in Seattle long-term, and is not a professional superintendent. We need someone committed to Seattle and focused on efficient and effective government.

mirmac1 said...

Wright is cold-blooded. Banda is warm and sincere (if weak).

I'm googling Steve Enoch as we speak....

Anonymous said...

I read the KUOW article and learned that Sacramento School District is nearly as large as Seattle School District. I don't see Banda having the personality style or drive for this size of a challenge. Plus he has made unfortunate hires from within (e.g. Tolley). It's fine to talk about stabilizing leadership if you've got the right people ...


mirmac1 said...

Steven Enoch, a warm and knowledgeable leader.

Anonymous said...

It kind of makes you want to start saying really really positive things, so that the Sac Board goes "great let's vote yes."

I agree with posters -- very poor leadership choices by Banda.


Anonymous said...

Melissa, John Higgins has a quote from a letter from President Peaslee to the staff, families, and community. I can't find that letter anywhere.

Can you link it?

--- swk

P.S. I just want to acknowledge that you likely had this scoop before others.

Greg said...

Is there any chance Norm Rice might be willing? Imagine the positive impact he could have.

Melissa Westbrook said...

We need two things from a next superintendent.

One, someone who knows this district and is connected to this community. No more people looking for a way to make a name and jump ship in a couple of years.

Two, someone who knows how to communicate and reach people. That was not Banda's forte.

I wouldn't mind Norm Rice except I think he is ed reform.

I think they should get Phil Brockman back. Stat.

mirmac1 said...

I can guess that the phones are ringing to get Enfield back. So far all the identified choices are blech.

We need an educator and administrator at heart. No politician. No current establishment. We need someone who knows what has to be done (follow the law and common sense) and tells the Alliance to back off.

Promises Matter said...

Upon taking the job of Superintendent, Banda was fully informed about the pressures related to running Seattle Public Schools. He accepted the job and told us that he was here for the long haul. I'm disappointed to see that he fell back on his word.

One should spend a little bit of time researching school superintendents and retirement systems. Superintendents become invested in well paying retirement systems after a few years and there is no incentive for superintendents to stay.

So much for his word.

Lynn said...

Yes to Norm Rice. Actually, yes to anyone who has a reputation for integrity and effectiveness, who acts more and speaks less. I want to see the secondary school bell times changed for September of this year - January at the latest. I want to see a new superintendent who understands that (s)he works for the board.

How much would it cost to get rid of the people in the many new management positions he created?

mirmac1 said...

Melissa, the link to the Peaslee letter is not working...?

Okay, I have the solution. Ken Gotsch is interim. He is a very honest and earnest administrator.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa:"One, someone who knows this district and is connected to this community."

No! To the contrary, the insularity of this district and this city is the reason for all the problems in the first place. We need strong leadership with OUTSIDE COMPARATIVE KNOWLEDGE so that the morass that passes for normal here can begin to shift.

Step out, Seattle School Board!! Go broad, go wide!


David said...

Just read his letter. So is he hedging his bets? It was not totally clear. If he doesn't get the Sacramento job is he staying here?

Anonymous said...

Oh no, did somebody really mention Susan Enfield? That really belongs in the "you've got to be kidding" category. Good riddance to Susan Enfield.


Melissa Westbrook said...

It appears that the Sacramento Board ratified an agreement on June 19th for "Ratification of Superintendent Employment agreement." But no documents were attached.

Hey and look what else they voted in for K-6 math? enVision. Interesting because they say it will take nearly $5M to use enVision.

Lynn said...

Banda posted his end of the year letter two days ago. He said "I also look forward to working with each of you during the upcoming year on implementing the three goals of our new five-year Strategic Plan: Ensuring Educational Excellence and Equity for Every Student, Improving Systems to Support Students, and Strengthening our School, Family and Community Engagement.

ben said...

Well I can't really blame him for hedging his bets in the letter.


mirmac1 said...

Enfield = identified choice = bleech.

Anonymous said...

Next up : Mr Tolley and Mr. English

Funny the day C-CAP is due, he's gone...dont let the door hit you on the way out.

Wouldn't it be better to have a full time board running the show? Do we need another figure head and if so that person should be just that an $80K a year spokes person period?


Anonymous said...


"I think they should get Phil Brockman back. Stat"


- North-end Mom

Disgusted said...

I hope there aren't any golden parachutes for Banda. His promise and long term commitment wasn't fulfilled.

Anonymous said...

Banda probably will add at least five years to his life expectancy by getting out of SPS.

Can't blame him for that.

--vital statistics

Observer said...

We need someone strong enough to clean house. Then, when that is done, we can bring in an educator. That is what a business board would do when their CEO leaves and the company is dysfunctional and possibly corrupt, and is clearly no longer focused on the customer/revenue stream.


mirmac1 said...

News from Sacramento:

Sacramento City school district approves charter school plan. Banda can knock himself out with those charters....

Legislature delivers financial rescue for CalSTRS; state, schools, teachers to contribute more
"Under AB 1469, approved by lawmakers as part of a package of budget bills, CalSTRS will get increased contributions from school districts, the state and teachers themselves. The plan, which kicks in July 1, is designed to gradually erase a $74 billion gap between CalSTRS’ assets and its long-term obligations.

Much of the added burden will be felt by school districts. Their combined annual contribution will grow from $2.2 billion to nearly $6 billion, with the increases phased in over seven years, said CalSTRS Deputy Chief Executive Ed Derman.

School district officials said the increased pension contributions will devour much of the increased funding the Legislature approved for education. The budget approved Sunday includes an additional $4.75 billion for school districts under a new funding formula."

Kevin Johnson.

This will make the Alliance seem like mere pests.

Need I say more....

Anonymous said...

In highly regulated entity like SPS
you are better off with a board that focuses on the students needs running the district vs a superintendent. Look back at all the damage superintendents have done at SPS. It's time for a different leadership structure.

We need leadership that will follow the laws and focus on student achievement for ALL students.

We need to downsize the administration and force out bad teachers, raise wages for highly skilled teachers and introduce assistive technology to bridge the achievement gap.


mirmac1 said...

Sacramento City Unified eyeing Seattle schools chief for top job

The finalist for the top job in the Sacramento City Unified School District is Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José L. Banda, the Sacramento district announced this morning.

Banda spent three decades in California schools, the Sacramento district said, and is credited as having a track record of lifting struggling schools to academic excellence.

Trustees in the Sacramento district were expected Thursday night to appoint Banda to the post. But Board of Education President Patrick Kennedy sought a delay in that closed-door vote, saying board members wanted time to complete their due diligence and a site visit. Board members will visit Seattle next week.

Hmmm, no mention of his short term here...

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more with you Observer!


Anonymous said...

And no to Phil Brockman - another nice guy with no follow through. It'd be a hire from within. Seattle doesn't need within. Seattle needs someone who won't accept the status quo.

Been there

Anonymous said...

Banda never once stepped foot in my child's school in the two years that he's been superintendent. I've asked our principal each year if he had visited and she said that he hadn't. He's been invited several times but never has come to our school, not that a superintendent needs to be invited. You'd think a super would want to get a sense of his/her schools that he/she is in charge of. That's one thing I give MGJ credit for is that she visited all of the schools in her first year, if I'm remembering correctly. She actually came to our school twice in the first year. Once for a Q and A with families and staff, and once for "Soup with the Supe" (she brought the Soup) over lunch with the staff. Although I didn't agree with decisions that she made that greatly impacted our school, at least she had the backbone to meet with us face to face.

If a Supe is going to be making important decisions about my child's school (boundary changes, curriculum changes, funding, etc), then at least have the courtesy to have walked the halls and meet a few folks in that community.

Seattle can do better for our kids.


Anonymous said...

Norm Rice? No and hell no.

-- Ivan Weiss

David said...

Whoever the Board chooses to replace Banda, I hope they have learned their lesson and stop hiring professional superintendents. When you hire a professional superintendent from another city, you get someone who showed no loyalty to the city they left, and therefore someone who will show no loyalty to Seattle when they come here. Seattle is just a stepping stone in a career for them, as demonstrated by Banda and Goodloe-Johnson.

First and foremost, we need someone who cares about Seattle and the children of Seattle.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PLEASE HIRE CHRIS GREGOIRE TO FIX OUR SchOOLS! Short term, she's up to the challenge, she could reestablish controls and leadership and a culture of following the law and rules - not a some get one way, some get the other - she would NEVER make decisions based on email polls (gah, awful). She's got it. Let's work for her to come for 18 - 24 months, please, please please!

Signed: Draft Gregoire

mirmac1 said...

NO politicians! That is insanity!

Anonymous said...

Banda was clearly looking elsewhere, putting out feelers probably for the last year, but meanwhile he was loading up our operating budget with a bunch of hires that will do nothing for actual Seattle kids -- then he just skates away??!! He totally sandbagged us!!!

You know how hard/expensive it is to fire/lay-off high-paid executives? You know how draining it is on an organization to go through the motions of doing this corrective 'right-sizing'? He's leaving us stuck holding the bag? A**hole.

(That's an expression, not name calling, so no need to delete.)


Anonymous said...

Re draft Brockman:

Fairly ineffective at leadership, from what I saw. Liked to work on documents, didn't have much ability to make them into real life (his big accomplishment at the end of his time was the equitable access framework! How's that going? The implementation of it by proposing to turn neighborhood schools into alternative language immersion models without even telling the kids in the schools ... remember that debacle on Beacon Hill that Julie Van Arcken highlighted? That was "equitable access" stuff, if I recall. So I don't think he'd be a good promotion. Leave him where he went.

I FULLY agree with bringing in an outside LEADER, not a career education administrator from some other city. Once our ship is righted, then an educator. But we need serious reform of process, systems, transparency, trust, accountability, finances ...

Signed: Draft Gregoire

Charlie Mas said...

I can't wait to see how the Seattle Times will declare this a tragedy and blame it on "micromanaging Board Directors".

Charlie Mas said...

Gosh. I sure hope that no one was waiting for Mr. Banda to fulfill any promises because those promises are now void. His successor won't feel any obligation to meet the commitments that Mr. Banda has made.

Charlie Mas said...

KUOW story

Seattle Times story

Anonymous said...

Well the district missed it's C-CAP and its leader is leaving..I see no other choice but for the feds to take over the district until things are corrected. I anticipated this happening and I'm in contact with the Feds. The district has zero credibility and thousands of documented violations of federal education laws. The state (OSPI) is not going to do anything as under their watch over the last 15 years the district spiraled down out of control.

The US dept of education still could pull all the districts federal funding if the district doesn't comply with federal law which currently they are NOT.

We all need to write our congress person and demand federal action or else nothing will improve.


Linh-Co said...

I don't think the Board will choose Charles Wright and not Norm Rice. i was definitely not impressed with Rice on the Superintendent Search Committee.

This is a great opportunity to get someone who's not into Common Core, ed reform, and heavy testing. I would love it if it's an outsider who cares about good curricula in math and reading/writing - not a fuzzy math advocate and not a fan of Reader's/Writer's Wirkshop. If we're lucky maybe Tolley and Heath will follow Banda.

K said...

Is it within the board's power to appoint one of themselves to be the interim superintendent? I assure you that I have no desire for this to happen, but I am curious to know whether this is a possibility. It would probably be a train wreck and seems incredibly unlikely given the board's lack of cohesion.

What is the process for who appoints the interim superintendent and what criteria are involved with that decision?

Anonymous said...

YES!!!! Wouldn't that be awesome? If Banda recruited away Tolley? Oh, hearts, flowers, unicorns and rainbows! Nah, we can't get that lucky. And besides, they would probably promote Heath.

How did our district get so unlucky and have such a perfect unbroken stream of bad luck?

No to Rice. No, no, no. Bob Boesche? YES!

mirmac1 said...

Ken Gotsch, interim. He has impressed me as a straight shooter.

Anonymous said...

Rice, no.

Wright, NOOOO.


Ken G., sure.

Bob Boesche, yes


Miss Waterlow said...

Absolutely good riddance. Cold fish. No rapport. Never felt like he gave a damn. His recent “community" meetings were a sad joke. Yet another supe who blah-blah-blahed in meaningless abstractions - all this donkey-dung about visions and five-year-plans made up of arbitrary numerical targets. Meaningless. He was a bore and a climber and not even the sharpest tack. But he was always well-groomed. I’ll say that for him.

I rue the day we dissed Enoch. (Fat chance he’ll take a look at us again, people - and I’m not sure he’s right for us at this point anyway.) I hope this board’s better at hiring. Seattle has a crap track-record, though.

Linh-Co said...

We didn't get Enoch because of the DeBell crowd. Alliance was afraid of him.

Linh-Co said...

We didn't get Enoch because of the DeBell crowd. Alliance was afraid of him.

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Well anonymous, before you get deleted, I'll say I was not one of those people. Some of us have been working with his administration and have seen some progress.

Patrick said...

This is not a bad thing. The best board we've had in years will have the chance to select a super.

mirmac1 said...

Interesting. I believe the Sacramento board recruited Banda. They did not go through the full-blown public process.

Sacramento City USD Superintendent Search 2014

I believe the intensive superintendent search process in Seattle drives away good candidates. It becomes a PR campaign, and of course the Times butts in.

Patrick said...

I don't suppose Melissa would be interested in the job herself?

- knows Seattle Schools, probably better than anybody else alive

- Seattle is not just a rung on the career ladder

- straightforward and without guile

- wants what's best for the kids and doesn't care about Gates' money

- SPS is already her full-time job, she might as well get paid

- her own kids, I think, are graduated

Anonymous said...

Is it even possible to have a popular leader of our school system? It seems that Seattle has so many different constituencies with often conflicting goals. Combine that with our obsession with process and finding solutions that make everyone happy. Throw in budget constraints and we've created a recipe for failure.


Lisa said...

How much do these searches cost? There should be a minimum commitment required as part of the contract, or else repayment of a good portion of the search money.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Waste Not, that is a name but I'll let it slide because I'm business.

And speaking of highly paid people at JSCEE? I'll have a long list of salaries - with raises (including all 5 of the Executive Directors) in an upcoming thread. Absolutely mind-boggling.

Charlie, no, no, the Board likes the SP and plans for the next person to fulfill it (this from Peaslee).

Linh-Co, Banda was asked about taking people with him and he demurred. Yes, there are some I wouldn't mind going with him.

Charles Wright publicly insulted the Board at the Retreat. I can see him being an interim but not a permanent superintendent.

NO ONE pushed out Banda. Listening to him at the press conference, it was all about what he wanted to do.

Banda was sought out, applied for the job (there were 15 applications, 6 interviews) and he came out on top.

Patrick, I used to say "no, I couldn't be superintendent." I would still say that with one caveat - not alone.

Give me, Charlie, Meg Diaz, Kellie LaRue and a couple of others - for two years - I believe we could create change for the better. But I am not "qualified" in the traditional sense but frankly, given that Peaslee made it sound like the Board is wedded to what has been laid out, it's much more a caretaker/inspirational leader at this point. (They all believe they have a great team in place and we all saw that Banda let the team do most of the heavy lifting.)

Lisa, the search process costs a lot. I feel a little bitter over having paid that cost just a scant few years ago and now doing it again. I, too, would favor a penalty clause for leaving early (unless it was a health issue).

Anonymous said...

Melissa -- please tell me that I misread you: Sharon P & Co all think that Banda has a great team in place? If that is the case, we might as well all turn the lights out on Seattle School District. Especially on the T&L Dept but let's not forget the Legal Dept either ...

Incredulous ...

Lori said...

As an SPS parent and a taxpayer, I feel ripped off. I'm surprised how angry I am about this. Sure, maybe new information will come out that change how I view the situation, but for now, I am upset that Mr. Banda used his entire first year to listen and learn, despite the many urgent needs the district had and continues to have, and then basically gave us just one year of service.

I remember when he came in July 2012 and he said that he intended to take some time, learn about our city and our district, engage stakeholders, listen and deliberate before launching new initiatives. I know many people did not support this intentional "learning curve," particularly when it seemed to drag on month after month, but I supported that slow, intentional, humble approach. I thought once he felt like he knew the ropes, he'd come out swinging and be a popular leader who would make carefully conceived decisions.

Instead, we paid him over a quarter of a million dollars for his year-long "listening and learning" tour. Beyond the money, it was also time that he took from us. And time is a scarce and precious resource. But he took an entire year of time to "learn" and he pays us back by giving us just 1 year of "leadership."

It's really stunning to me that he feels justified, after taking over half a million dollars in salary from our city, to declare any successes whatsoever and move on. All that time and money we invested in him, now wasted. Wow.

So, yeah, I'll be curious what all of the back story really is, but for now, I am completely underwhelmed. Unless there are some amazing successes we can attribute to his leadership that I'm just not aware of right now, I can't help but feel that we all got taken advantage of.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sharon P & Co all think that Banda has a great team in place?"

That is what President Peaslee said at the press conference.

Lori, I would agree with most of what you just wrote. I'm not sure there IS any backstory. Banda is just doing what is good for him. That's his right as a person with a career but some of the statements he made about the work don't jibe with his actions.

Anonymous said...

I have faith in Sharon Peaslee and I don't think she could really have said "everyone he hired sucks" in a press conference. I'm hoping that was just the polite party line one speaks at such an event, and that she & others are working behind the scenes to effect change of some of Banda's paeons.

As for the rest - what Lori said. From the beginning I thought he was anodyne (at best). But this feels like him getting away with daylight robbery. I hope that if there are penalties in his contract for leaving early, they are invoked.


PS: here's a vote for Melissa, Kellie et al to make the clean sweep. I'd be happy to come and help.

Anonymous said...

I am heartily disappointed to learn that "the Board is wedded to what has been laid out" and that they would even consider hiring "a caretaker/inspirational leader at this point." It would be a monumental mistake for the board to use such criteria.

I think the board actually needs to hire a new superintendent in the traditional mode. Seattle needs a new superintendent who is/was recently a superintendent of a medium-sized school district IN THIS STATE with a history of strong management (including a system of performance evaluation for central administration staff) and strong teaching and learning credentials, including evidence of policies and procedures that have addressed achievement gaps.

I would not want someone who has a direct connection to SPS. And I do not want anyone who has been a Broad fellow --- that is a deal breaker.

This person needs to demonstrate a willingness to sit down with the union to strengthen the role and professional support of teachers and to AUTHENTICALLY engage with the community, including parents. I want someone who recognizes and respects the Seattle Way (process) without allowing it to run amok.

I don't think Melissa is qualified to run a large, urban school district (even with a quality team). But with that said, I'd support the district hiring Melissa as its Communications Director/board liaison who has a seat at the table for policy discussions, like a senior policy advisor.

I actually have a person in mind but I'm not going to name names. No reason to poison the well.

--- swk

Monica said...

Good riddance

Monica said...

Anybody else notice the mushroom in central administration in the recommended budget for next year? Good grief. Can it get much worse?

Anonymous said...

Making list of items dead in water until new super hired. (And since it is not "hiring season" for supers, we are functionally stuck w/ the interim for a while - probably the full next year.)

Special Education (how long will director brought in by Banda last?)

Advanced Learning (only the minimum will get done until the next perma super arrives)

Downtown School

Enrollment in general (a mess with Libros leaving)

Bell Times (Big operational changes tabled until next boss can take the heat)

Capacity (procuring more space, any boundary adjustments)

Middle school math

That is a 30 second list. I'm sure it could double with another 30 seconds of thinking.

So exasperating and disappointing.


Anonymous said...

I disagree with Ed Voter that those items on the list are 'dead in water' until next super.

No, T&L has several of those items in their cross-hairs, and will continue unchecked and unguided to do whatever the heck they want, b/c T&L can do it as program placement with no one to stop them. T&L for instance could divide APP into 6 schools or dismantle it entirely in favor of walk-to, could do away with pathway to Garfield, any of that stuff - and there would be no one to appeal to, no one to stop them, no one to hear the voices against that action.

So no, don't think those are dead in the water. All of that list? Now merely unsupervised and without coordination - so all the depts. can work on the same thing going several different ways, with no one to control.

And I DEEPLY regret Tracy Libros's retirement at this time. She at least was a steady voice of reason and could be counted on to listen and be thoughtful, and she wasn't pushed around by the T&L or others.


Anonymous said...

I have the same concerns as @DRAFT GREGOIRE, especially with Advanced Learning. I expect significant changes to be made by T&L with little oversight or community input. The churn will allow decisions to be made with little accountability.

I wish Banda the best and don't begrudge him for leaving for a sunnier, more functional district. I imagine being Superintendent of SPS is like playing a whack-a-mole game.

-former Californian

Anonymous said...

Funny - I was just looking at the publically accessible list of SPS employee salaries (from 2012-2013) and was amazed that there were over 150 people making over $100,000. And that was BEFORE this latest round of hires.

I would dearly love someone who has the courage to give SPS management a directive - that motto of ours? "Students First"? Well guess what - I really mean that and any initiative that doesn't directly support/benefit the kids in the classroom is OVER
Oh and we're not accepting grants that put us in debt in a few years - if we can't afford it now, we can't afford it later.

Don't like it? There's the door - maybe LEV is doing some hiring


Anonymous said...

Not Herndon for an interim. He's all talk, no substance. He moves around frequently FOR A REASON. About the time people figure out how little he does, time to move on.

Wright? Ugh.

Gregroire - interesting thought. Normally I'd say no politicians, but I also have seen her at work negotiating settlements and such, and she is quite good at that. More than once I've seen her take two opposing groups and enable them to meet some consensus and find a compromise. Though I'd still rather have someone with teaching experience and Supe experience.

I do agree with swk - NO MORE BROADIES. Been there, done that, failure, additional examples of Broad failures across the country. In fact, I'd be curious if there are any successful Broadies out there (Deasy is a disaster, Vallas is a crock.....)


Anonymous said...

I think our Seattle process scared him away. This town is enmired in crazy bureaucracy, and perhaps from his perspective, there is always a vocal group in opposition to most decisions made at the district level. Also, we have gloomy weather much of the year.

Anon STEM mom

Ed said...

Lets face it; the DeBell faction of the Board got what they wanted with Banda and those that should have spoken up have been asleep at the wheel. In this leadership vacuum, central staff are having a field day.

Shame on any Board members who "praise" this travesty and go, Sue go!

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I would dearly love someone who has the courage to give SPS management a directive - that motto of ours? "Students First"? Well guess what - I really mean that and any initiative that doesn't directly support/benefit the kids in the classroom is OVER
Oh and we're not accepting grants that put us in debt in a few years - if we can't afford it now, we can't afford it later."

Job 1.

"In this leadership vacuum, central staff are having a field day."

Yup. And somebody better check that but only the Board can do that. We can only point out the obvious.

mirmac1 said...

swk and I agree again (is that a record?) The Ex Sped director's not going anywhere. Herndon? He, like Tolley, has no concept of civil rights protections and IDEA. They figure SpEd students can be moved and sacrificed like pawns. As for his managing of capital programs - don't get me started.

Right, reader47, that list of Big Moneymakers is depressing; if it isn't "promotion," "job title/reclassification," or "market adjustment," it's something else equally incredible.

Why is it every step forward is two steps back? My gawd, if Peaslee and crew weren't there, I'd hate to think WTH we'd be at right now.

Anonymous said...

Of the remaining two choices we had, I think Mr. Banda was by far the better of the two. He stayed too short a time, I agree (especially given his "spend the first year mostly watching/listening" stance). But I think that, had he stayed, he could have done a chunk of good over time. All water under the bridge though, as he is not staying. And for all the conjecture over why he is leaving Seattle, I think his stated reasons are sound solid and believable -- especially the retirement system and family stuff. Eh. It happens.

To me, his tenure (juxtaposed against MGJ's) is a great illustration of the difference between what happens when you hire someone truly bad -- truly WRONG for the job (MGJ) and someone who is merely not terribly effective (Mr. Banda, to date -- because I think he could have been good over time). To me the nightmare of the MGJ years was like going to the hospital with diabetes and mild (but worrisome) symptoms of heart failure -- where was a LOT to be done to get back to good health, but you aren't dying -- and having the doctor hook you up to chemo, diagnose you with bipolar disorder and prescribe lithium and some scary other stuff -- and start talking about maybe -- amputation of a limb or two. WTF??!?!? you think! This is nuts. I wasn't in great shape, granted but - now I am way worse! Instead of work on narrowing the achievement gap, executing on the strategic plan, etc., we got scary contracts with the Board on no dissent, MAP testing, standardization of courses that nearly cost us the Ballard academies and Garfield's science courses, dreadful high school math books, and a neigborhood attendance plan that eliminates any ability by the district to control school populations (which promptly ballooned in the rececession and subsequent growth spurt of the city, instead of shrinking as predicted). She attracted horrible people to work under her. We had dreadful audits, to say nothing of Mr. Potter's escapades. Remember all the Lowell stuff with the speech pathologist? The attempted firing of Ingraham's principal (under Dr. Enfield, but only by a few months -- and instigated by the EDs that MGJ had hired).

Mr. Banda stopped the amputation plan, turned off the chemo, and discontinued the lithium. We managed to get really good math for years 1 through 5 (I am still wondering what will hit the fan when a bunch of kids who have done REAL math for 4 or 5 years hit the CMP books in middle school -- I suspect a tidal wave uprising of seriously ticked off middle school kids, who will take nothing short of a mass of waivers for an answer) -- But -- we still have so many of the problems we had before the bad MGJ hiring (sped problems, performance gap issues, AL issues, etc.). AND, because time never stands still, we have NEW ones -- growing capacity problems in the north end, etc.

I agree with the "no Broadies" policy. But I hope they get someone who can take on the SPED issues and make some serious headway there. I also wish they would find someone willing to get rid of the layers of upper management (EDs etc.) and adopt a policy of finding and hiring really great principals -- at present, it seems to me that weak (or worse) principals are a MUCH worse problem than any issues in the teaching corps. And they are a good PART of the problem with SPED.

And (I have always been something of a Banda fan, even when maybe not merited) -- I cannot fathom being the Superintendent in a city where Michelle Rhee is married to the mayor. I concede to those who are unhappy because we maybe didn't get our money's worth -- but I have to wish him the best, because I think he is walking into a dragon's nest down there. And it makes me feel sorry for him.


Bill said...

The only reason he quit is his bosses were, not micromanaging, but ignoring the work of his team.The math adoption was obviously the deciding factor. The board majority on that vote made it clear that they were going to be dictating based on their own research and discussions with their own friends and advisers.
An adversarial relationship has formed. It no doubt is not the way he or any super feels they can be effective in serving students in that environment. The board is now forced with trying to find a sycophantic super who will do any crazy thing they want. I don't think any self-respecting educator would be willing to work with them.

Anonymous said...

OMG! mirmac and me are totally BFFs.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

"...but ignoring the work of his team"

Please. Did you see that list of "priorities?"

Crazy thing? You betray yourself in what you think of the Board. That's just not merited or true.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bill said...

Please understand hyperbole!!!
MiF was not "crazy" but it was adopted as a result of a power play by the Peters faction. Banda wants to work at a district that is cooperative not confrontational. I just don't think there are many if any big city supers who are willing to deal with a confrontational board. Maybe there's a person who the majority believes will mirror their own ideas about education but sooner or later there's going to be another instance of "we know best because we were elected even though we are laypeople".
Too bad.

Anonymous said...

"any crazy old thing", yeah, like picking Singapore Math --- whoa! Totally ccccrrrrraaaaaazzzzzyyyy.

Get real.

This super did jack squat. And he's probably been looking for a new gig for 6 months, since he's a "dial it in" kind of guy, and the crisises (SpEd, Capacity, underfunding, disciplin, etc) mean that you can't sit and hide behind a desk and expect things to just tick along.

Waste not, and, he's performance has been a total waste.


Just saying said...

I don't think hell has frozen over, and before swk and mirmac head out for cocktails: What is swk's postion in relation to a superintendent's position on charter schools?

mirmac1 said...

Wha...?! Just Sayin', I was about to order that second margarita!

The fact that staff has had to backtrack some (typically) lamebrained and tin-eared decisions (particularly with respect to SpEd) in the last few months demonstrates the night and day difference between this and previous administrations. MGJ and Enfield would've just laughed while the great unwashed pounded on the castle walls. Serious. I would've filed a few more OSPI complaints but the district backed off some idiotic initiatives. This is because Banda said "Fix it!" Crap like this takes time. Too bad he didn't want to stick to the task.

Just Saying said...

If swk goes no charters..I'll buy. We can have margaritas, lemon drops, pina colada, Long Island Iced teas, fuzzy navels,champagne and grapefruit, scotch, mai tai, Irish coffee etc. just name it!....:)

mirmac1 said...

All of the above.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about AL being static - L@L don't get too used to that new bldg all to yourself. With all those kids the numbers weren't going to pencil anyway and gosh they get all the best stuff anyway. Look at that great playfield you have and that lunch room must be great too because you always have to wait for a seat. Besides those bright kids want to stay inside and read anyway (partially true).

As for all those AL task forces funny how you engage all those people for their recommendations just as much of their areas of concern are already budgeted for our are being crafted by an internal work group long before the work is completed. Besides, every gifted kid should take World history three times right?

It's so sad as we were just getting to know you... And your style of leadership by poll. Even if some of those polls went out after it was clearly obvious that you had made the moves already.

If the folks from Sacofpimentos want evidence of his body of work have them look at the error ridden math adoption presentation and how his boy Tully went out of his way to circumvent the Board after it didn't go through. All very clever stuff... But it failed and Tully should have been reprimanded unless he was just following orders... Which he clearly was.

-Good Riddance

David said...

Does anyone know what the powers of the Board are when the superintendent is missing? Can they, for example, appoint anyone they like as interim superintendent (including a Board member or someone not currently in central admin)? Can they fire anyone they like when there is no superintendent? Can fire anyone appointed as interim superintendent and appoint a new one? Can they do that multiple times to fire several executives quickly?

There are a lot of people asserting that Banda leaving lets the staff run willy nilly, but it is not clear the Board is powerless in this situation. Does anyone know the actual powers of the Board when there is no superintendent?

Monica said...

The remaining DeBell faction still runs the board and those that should be speaking out have been so cowed by administrative staff that they are afraid to speak out for fear of Blethen and the Alliance saying they are "micromanaging" that they remain mute or simply mouth scripts prepared by the PR wing.

Its shameful and no end in sight if Wright continues to drive the agenda for them.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'd have to check on the "powers of the Board." I don't believe they would leave the district without interim leadership. So the day Banda is gone, someone else is in.

The Board cannot fire or hire anyone but the Superintendent.

BUT, they could, in their discussions that Pealee said are coming this week, decide to look for someone to streamline - not get rid of - the SP. It's too much and too much at Central. The middle management bloat is getting out of hand.

I think Monica is right. The powers that be would LOVE for Wright to be superintendent. I do not think it is to be for a variety of reasons. I'm not even sure it's his heart's desire. He, too, has moved around and that should be a tip-off to the Board (among other things).

It will be interesting to see how the Board proceeds. We have three people who have seen several supers come and go (Carr and Martin-Morris and Patu) but it's not like the ones haven't been keeping careful watch.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I do want one thing to be said and I'm going to put it in two places.

The pre-K agreement with the City has GOT to be shelved. I suspect if there isn't a lot of push for a hold on this, we will see Banda's last act to include signing off.

This needs a long, hard look before anyone signs.

Melissa Westbrook said...

You know how when things are flying by they don't register until later?

I was reminded of this when someone wrote to me to let me know that Kent Bechler, who works for the search firm being used by Sacramento Schools, has ALSO been working for our district. As Superintendent Banda's coach.

How much was he paid? I don't know. Why did Banda need "coaching?" I don't know. Mr. Bechler is himself an award-winning superintendent.

mirmac1 said...

Alliance paid for Banda's "coach". Surely as part of the whole indoctrination process.

n said...

I don't think Banda has been looking for a new placement. I believe him when he says he couldn't pass up an opportunity to return to his home state. And being sought after is an honor.

Of all his actions I most regret his handling of the Jon Greenberg incident. I think that was cowardly. That has forever tainted my opinion of him. Sorry to say. And his ties with enVision were at least suspect.

All I want is someone who will streamline admin and redirect money back to the schools.

I'm with you, Draft Gregoire. I think she''d be fabulous!

Seadad said...

Banda leaving is a good thing in the long run. Things have not been working well for him here. Banda does not seem to be able to successfully partner with the school board to reach major decisions - the math adoption is the latest example.

Rather than assert who should be Banda's successor, I think we'd do better by insisting the school board fix their dysfunctional search process. (Board members don't seem to work well with each other; I guess it stands to reason they wouldn't work well finding or working with a Superintendent.)

The school board has to be clear about what they want from the Superintendent and senior staff before they can credibly search for a leader.

Lastly - and this may be unpopular - I'm starting to feel the school board needs some tough love from other authorities: either the OSPI or the Seattle Mayor. The latter in particular has a big stake in having a well-run school system.

pro-sleep mom said...

Just looked up the super contract. Unless it has been extended somewhere along the line, it was for three years, expiring in June 2015.

He's supposed to give 6 months notice if leaving, but there's no penalty if less, so no teeth here.

Wright would be a nightmare. Ken Gotsch, though, seems quite competent and down to earth; the best internal interim pick.

How long do these searches take? Seems like everything will be slowed down while it happens- not good.

NO Way said...

"Lastly - and this may be unpopular - I'm starting to feel the school board needs some tough love from other authorities: either the OSPI or the Seattle Mayor."

Really, Seadad? Are you talking about the same Mayor that pushed through the tunnel deal? The same Mayor that wouldn't denounce the actions of his PAC for distributing misinformation related to victims of violence to win the election? The same mayor that blames- everyone and everyone- for poor outcomes when, he, himself, failed miserable to fund education? C'mon and No thanks.

Democracy isn't always pretty and I'm sure this board will provide an accurate representation of the community atlarge; even if they don't always agree.

No Way said...

Governmental entities are set-up for a reason. Be it imperfect, I'll take what we have.

Pamela said...

Does Seadad realize that Murray enjoys a cozy relationship with Michelle Rhee husband?

Anonymous said...

Getting Murray involved in the district would only make things worse. Look at the examples of school districts under mayoral control - disasters, plus no research shows it to be a good option. Murray is essentially a DFER Dem, and I have no trust in the success rate of anything he touches.
There are better options out there, some internal, some external, but getting Murray involved in SPS is not one of them.


Pamela said...

CT is absolutely correct. You just need to look around the country- Rahm Emanuel, Bloomberg etc. Murray is no different. And, yes, he will be schmoozing with Rhee's husband.

Anonymous said...

Comments like Bill's frustrate the dickens out of me. There is no reason to think that Banda's departure is anything more than what he says -- he wants to get closer to "home" and to rejoin a retirement plan that is far more lucrative (given his years of service). Certainly, he could not possibly have put in motion this exit plan between the time the MIF vote/kerfuffle occurred and now. That defies any logic. I suppose one could say that he wouldn't have taken the position but for the Board's vote on MiF? But what evidence to we have for that. None. It is nothing but political conjecture. I see nothing to suggest that he was charmed here before the Math vote and disaffected afterwards.

This District is difficult for the Superintendent to manage for two reasons:
First -- we have a lot of problems either created by (or left unsolved by) past Superintendents, together with a few new ones (high growth) -- so there is a fair amount of hard work to do.
Second -- certain departments of downtown staff consistently fail to do their jobs. The current sped failure is an example. So is much of the neglect in Teaching and Learning. They don't spend time in the buildings; they don't seem service oriented (hint -- they NEED to be focused like lasers on support of teachers and building staff)! They don't do what they are asked/told in any meaningful manner (and sometimes they don't even go through the motions).

If we are going to solve problems, the people we hire have to be willing and able to solve (or at least make good progress) on them. If that was a task he either didn't agree needed to be done, didn't relish doing, or couldn't do -- then that is a problem. I know he didn't come on all "visionary leader" like Stanford, or all "martinet" like MGJ. He had a much different style. Personally, I still think he could have done much of the work that needed to be done, with more time. But this is all moot at this point.

I also agree with the "no mayors," no "state intervention." The farther you get from people who are accountable to the Board (and to Seattle parents and residents), the more likely you are to have people who make boneheaded decisions and listen to faux grass roots advocacy groups, instead of Seattle parents and teachers.


Undo the damage said...

To Jan re "So is much of the neglect in Teaching and Learning. They don't spend time in the buildings; they don't seem service oriented (hint -- they NEED to be focused like lasers on support of teachers and building staff)!"

What you probably don't know is that they aren't allowed to spend time in schools. Literally, not allowed. When the district killed the coaching program (already anemic) last year they turned professional development into "trainings" held at JSCEE. This is what now passes for professional development in this district, and it is shameful, and morale is very low among the lower level of T&L folks, who indeed should - and want to be - out in buildings, working with teachers and staff.

This is what happens when a superintendent is MIA and the power vacuum allows the upper level of management, under Mr. Wright's control, to run things. Remember, Mr. Wright came from the Gates Foundation and, as far as I know, is not an educator. There is an enormous disconnect between that upper level management, now bloated by yet more highly paid, useless positions, and teachers and building administrators.

We need a superintendent who understands that the "core mission" of a school district is students. We need superintendent who is a visible leader. And we need superintendent who can undo all of the bloat and damage that has occurred during Mr. Banda's tenure. And this is particularly true as Burgess (and maybe the Mayor, I don't know) are circling the district.

Lastly, Ms. Peaslee's comments about the board's support for Banda's leadership deeply, deeply concern me. Those comments seem to go far beyond just being politic.

Anonymous said...

Really Jan?
And i guess you believe Larry Craig had a "wide stance"?
c'mon, people quit high level jobs and rarely if ever give the real reason when it's a dispute with their board. he could have done one more year and then gone back with no loss of pension.
the Peter's majority now gets to taste power and gets to pick a new person of their choosing. bully for them. Peters needs to learn what is involved in a super search. she acted like she knew EVERYTHING about math, so we'll see how much she knows about hiring. hopefully it won't interrupt her vacation plans.


Melissa Westbrook said...

bill2, from listening to Banda, in person, I believe he just doesn't have his heart here and I think he always had one foot still in California.

That said, maybe he thought the Board was too much work. Sorry, but a superintendent - a good one - learns how to work with a board and give and take is part of it.

Just Saying said...

Frankly, the board has way too much work dealing with capacity etc. and Banda just dropped an enormous stink bomb on them. Shame on him.

Peaslee is trying for stability; no reason to attack.

Wendy said...

bill2's comments regarding Craig are disgusting and should be deleted.

There are unfounded attempts to link Banda's departure to the board. Has anyone considered that any superintendent in this town would be put-off by the politicos in this town and would want to head-out of dodge?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Any big city superintendent that does not know about politics and public education is in the wrong business.

Anonymous said...
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mirmac1 said...

Mary Alice H. is just like the other DFERs. Was all to eager to help TFA out. Tried to slip them in under the radar. More concerned with sucking up for that next promotion. No different than Enfield. No thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is why we can't have nice things.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

What is it you find "disgusting" about the Larry Graig comparison? That he spent his career supporting anti-gay legislation? That he was arrested and pleaded guilty to soliciting sex in the mens' room?
That he's a closeted gay man?

Wonder Bread

my take on the Banda exit is as follows,
He did some great work but after the math adoption fight, he saw the board was going to ignore staff on big decisions and go with their "gut" do their own googling. It would be like the mayor telling the head of City Light how to pick new type of transformer.

Anonymous said...

bill2: wow. Didn't mean to hit a nerve. Yes, I understand that politically even people who are being drummed out or are leaving mad often say the politically correct "leaving for personal reasons" thing. But I also know that often -- it is true. (I also several people personally who came from the southwest or southern California and left -- because they didn't like the cold and dark. They were friends, and told me so -- but I doubt if that was part of their official goodbye speech. Not that I am saying that applies to Mr. Banda. But I see no reason in this case not to take him at his word. I just don't. He ends up back in California -- and gets to move up from a smaller district with only K through 6 schools -- to Sacramento's district. A nice advancement.

To "Undo the damage" -- I had no idea that exec staff was no longer "allowed" in buildings. Nor do I have anything I can really say in response to your conclusion -- that this follows from a MIA Superintendent who has neglected T and L, and allowed Mr. Wright too much influence. I am not a Wright fan -- especially after his performance in the math adoption meeting (though I am sure that is a trifle compared with other things he may influence -- it is just the only thing I have seen of him lately). We certainly do need someone who gets that the core mission of the District is student learning -- and that the bloat has to be cut. If the line you draw between lower T and L staff is accurate, it does not reflect well on Mr. Banda (whatever his reasons for leaving).


Undo the damage said...

Jan, just to clarify, I was not referring to exec. staff not being allowed to leave JSCEE to work in schools, but to those (lower level) folks who were actually working with teachers and admininstrators in buildings prior to last year.

Ridiculous said...

I'm seeing comparisons that are beyond ridiculous. Atleast one board members has worked to set state level math standards, obtained master level ed. degree etc.

Patrick said...

bill2 he could have done one more year and then gone back with no loss of pension.

Where do you get your information about California's pension system? Most defined-benefit pensions, the pension depends on years worked * final 2-3 years salary * a factor, 2-3%. Banda got a raise to come here and will make about the same in Sacramento as he does here. So if he stays in Sacramento 2-3 years, he gets a pension on California's plan based on his higher salary. If he stays here, his California pension is based entirely on his lower pay from his previous job.

Actually, the pension may be one factor, but I bet the deciding factors are being closer to his family like he said, and the damp and dark winters here.

Wonder Bread, the adoption committee was deeply divided. You can't compare well-known engineering decisions like electrical transformers with textbook adoption. Kids have personalities and families and react differently to the same stimuli; electrons don't.

Charlie Mas said...

I want an effective manager and administrator who knows how to lead a professional organization. For me, the ideal candidate would be someone who has lead a large accounting practice, engineering company, or law practice. Not only because they have experience treating their front line staff like professionals, but because each of these industries has high standards for work product, crushing liabilities, and very sharp rules that must be followed.

An executive coming out of that experience will respect the teachers and demand high quality, on time work from the central administration. I think someone from any of these industries would also narrow the mission of the central administration and prevent further mission creep.

Moreover, I would hope that such a leader would work to improve the generally low quality of management throughout the district. Not only are principals, for the most part, poor managers, the managers in the central administration are poor managers.

Carol Simmons said...

The Interim Superintendent position is so important also. I would hope that someone like Dr. George Woodruff would be interested.

mirmac1...... who is Mary H.? Don't DFER's want charter schools?

We need someone committed to closing the achievement gap not just in word but in actions.


Lori said...

I'm surprised so many people believe the "leaving for personal reasons" story. It looks more to me like he doesn't like the job so he's taking the first reasonable chance he can to leave. That it gets him closer to home and increases his CA state pension is icing on the cake.

The thing is, he seems like a smart, thoughtful, and cautious person. Someone like that doesn't leave a long-time state job at the age of 55 without having carefully thought it through. He put in 30 or so years and must have a decent pension in California. He's making $270K/year here, plus another $22K going into retirement here - surely he can continue saving for retirement while working here. And, sure, Sacramento is physically closer to Bakersfield than Seattle is, but last I looked, it's still a 4-hour drive. He's not going to be having dinner with his family every night!

I think both of these things are convenient excuses to leave a job that he doesn't like. He took a year to listen and learn and decided he didn't like what he saw. It just isn't plausbile that a mere 2 years after leaving CA, he's suddently worried about his retirement and wants to shore up his pension. Someone who behaves rashly might have made the move without thinking it through, but nothing he's done here has ever been rash.

And who can blame him for wanting out? He's stuck between a rock and hard place in that his boss (the Board) doesn't buy into various state mandates (Common Core) and doesn't trust his employees (district staff). Maybe he doesn't like the local politics (eg, preschool initiative) or maybe he sees no way to solve the intractable problems in times of fiscal austerity, like the coming high school capacity crisis. Who knows?! I don't. But I just don't buy homesickness or financial concerns as his main motivators.

Anonymous said...

Here's what one of our current school board members stated on this blog back in 2011 regarding the superintendent search that resulted in Banda:

"I'm not convinced that hiring from within JSCEE HQ is the answer. We need someone untainted and objective."

Wonder if she still feels that same.

--- swk

Lynn said...

swk - I sure hope so!

Anonymous said...

Lynn, me too.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

"He's stuck between a rock and hard place in that his boss (the Board) doesn't buy into various state mandates (Common Core)."

Where did you get this? I have not heard any pushback from the Board over CC. That was a big part of the math adoption.

I think the biggest issue is that staff see the Board as know-nothings and could they please get out of the way of the important work of staff.

That's wrong thinking and they will continue to clash with the Board if they keep it up.

Well gee, SWK, don't leave us hanging. Who was it?

Charlie Mas said...

The Board and the staff have a fundamental disagreement on the role of the Board. The staff believes that the Board should function as a rubber stamp. They don't believe that the Board has anything positive to add at all and should just show up twice a month to approve whatever is placed before them. The less they talk about it the better. These things don't stand up well under discussion - even friendly discussion.

The Board, on the other hand, thinks that they have a duty to make policy and oversee management. Funny, right? So the Board occasionally - rarely, to tell the truth - takes a break from floating with the current and sticks an oar in the water. They suggest something. Something like having a transparent program placement process, actually conducting performance evaluations, keeping track of the money, or setting school start times that work for students. You can review the past several years' of "Board Priorities" for a complete list.

The staff reacts to these signs of life with the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, but without ever actually doing the work that the Board asks them to do. How could they possibly do any of that silly work when they are so busy with the same implementation that they have been trying to make (under a variety of names) for over a decade now?

It was called Standards-based Learning System, "the same high quality instruction at every school", Fidelity of Implementation, Equitable Access, and now MTSS. It doesn't matter what they call it, they can't get it to happen. And they are trying in every way they know. Yet no matter how many PowerPoint presentations they make or how many clever names they invent, the teachers are ignoring them. A chain of Chief Academic Officers have all tried and failed to get the teachers to pay attention to the district administration instead of the students, but the teachers just obstinately keep addressing student needs. The insurgents! Well, just wait until they get a load of the next PowerPoint. That'll fix 'em.

The only way this ridiculous dysfunction can be fixed is for a new superintendent to come in and fix it. A superintendent who understands administration and management of a company of professionals. A superintendent who understands that you have to allow people to participate in the development of an idea if you want their buy-in. A superintendent who will articulate a narrow mission for the central administration so they aren't wasting their time on pet projects that don't advance the mission, so they actually can address themselves to the mission, and so they can eliminate the excess payroll in the JSCEE that doesn't support schools, teachers, and students.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Melissa, I thought everyone would rightly conclude that it was Director Peters. I didn't mean to be secretive.

--- swk

mirmac1 said...


Mary Alice Heuschel - short-time Inslee Chief of Staff and former supe of Renton. No reform she doesn't like.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Lori's right but I'd say even more than that. I'd say he felt he'd been lied to when he was offered the job. He too honorable to quit otherwise.


mirmac1 said...

Gina, I felt Banda was honorable up till he cut and run. No one lied to him. Shortly after he started, I told him that he would be pursued relentlessly by the ed reformers in this town. He said he could and would stand up to them. Next thing ya know he had a "coach" and was hiring a phalanx of overpriced suits. He lied to the students and families in this town.