Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Plea to Superintendent Nyland

I spoke at last night's Board meeting.  My remarks were about the MOU with the Alliance for Education (more on that in another thread as the Board discussion with Charles Wright was telling) and to welcome Superintendent Nyland and ask for his help.

My remarks to the Superintendent:

I want to say welcome to Superintendent Nyland.  Please understand, you may truly be the guy in the white hat who just rode into our district.

You can be a figurehead, a follower or the change agent that our district needs so badly.

The change? Creating a headquarters that is well-run and, in turn, a district that is well-run.  Our district is not well-run.

We need a central headquarters staff that follows policies and procedures and that any deviation from that will be handled appropriately.  That attitude needs to funnel down to the last staff member in every single school.

Because the Title IX issues - and the case they stem from - are appalling.  Everyone wants to be one of the three monkeys - see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.  Oh, and "it's not my fault."

When policies are not followed, you get bad outcomes, big and small.  This case is one of the most tragic and yet not a single person has taken even the slightest responsibility.  The creation of a Crisis Response Team does not even come close to what needs to be done.  

I say, in all sincerity, please Superintendent Nyland, please help our district.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

As one who was in the audience last night, and routinely there for all other Board Meetings, I want to thank you for your comments to Dr. Nyland and for the ears of the Board, and perhaps, most importantly for cabinet and staff that was present (although there were some making snide whispers & eye rolling at the time). It was very clear that particular Board members heard the entirety of your testimony and this was seen in the line of question around the MOU when Wright was up to present it.
... sadly though, to play on your "see/hear/speak no evil" analogy, I think far too many within JSC revel in their own professional ambitions/climbing and will willingly and decidedly remain blind, deaf and dumb for if not it curtails the chance to move ahead or perhaps even keep their job... JSC appears to be a building that lives by the motto and game face touting the goals of the Strategic Plan publicly but the reality is these are not truly the priorities or considerations when it comes down to the work or implementation.
... certainly this isn't true for ALL staff, no organization/company/entity is ever entirely bad or "good" for that matter, and in this instance we have some good ones with people like Joe Wolf, Lucy Morello, formerly Dr. Libros and Bob Boesche. It is a sad and an incredibly troubling time to be a parent to a child or children in Seattle Public Schools, or to be an advocate for children in the system. I would like to hope that Dr. Nyland will take on the challenges and be an agent for change, but sadly given that he is one man and he will have to fight the tide of decades of corruption, policy bending and individuals/staff/Directors happily drinking the Kool-Aid that Legal serves up to protect "the District", and blind ambitions ... So, I gues...well... I am not so optimistic.
I hope that Dr. Nyland and any others that he can find on the Board and staff can prove me wrong.

Burnt-out B4Septmember

Melissa Westbrook said...

That is absolutely true; I know many people of good faith who work at JSCEE. In fact,over the years, a few have told me privately that they keep wishing for a superintendent who will really clean things up.

Most try hard to do good work and keep their heads down.

No change in sight said...

It has been my observation that rules are only expected to be complied with by the "nobodies" in the District while the "somebodies" (including principals) do as they please.

Sadly

Anonymous said...

Not an auspicious beginning for our new 'new' superintendent: being a rape-apologist.

Actually, I take that back. He DIDN'T
apologize.

I've been around long enough to know that if this truly awful circumstance doesn't bring out a pair of big boy pants in our glorious 'fearless' leader, ain't nothing that will. And it is NOT about the timing ("I'm too new and/or too temporary to really open my
Mouth and say what I think"). -- a real leader would simply LEAD.

Just bide time till the next bus comes by.

Waiting for #9.

#8: Same ineffable taste, even less filling!!

-Godot

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

Reprinting for anonymous (no anonymous comments please, choose any type of name):

"In marysville he had a top down philosophy with staff and was divisive with the various employee groups, pitting classified staff against certified staff. This created poor working conditions, poor staff cohesiveness and dysfunction in the schools. He may have played well with the school board, but employees were scared of him and he treated them poorly as did his minions. Discipline in schools also was a big issue during his tenure. Bullies got away with a lot so that there would be less student suspensions on record. This led to students at Totem middle school walking out and protesting because they were tired of getting bullied and there being no accountability / discipline."

maureen said...

Anonymous at 9:31, you need to pick an alias (read the instructions) when you are deleted, it won't be because of what you posted.

maureen said...

Wait, what the heck Melissa? How often do you repost for anonymi?

maureen said...

It's your blog, of course, but not a good precedent to set in my humble-ish opinion.

Linh-Co said...

@ Maureen

Melissa periodically reposts for anonymous, as do others. Especially when the message is compelling or interesting.

maureen said...

Linh-Co, of course you are right,(I repost regularly myself) but it is pretty rare for Melissa to do it and that was a fairly inflammatory post with no sources (or name) to back it up so I was surprised.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I felt it was talking about his job performance (clearly one person's opinion). It didn't call him names but gave an opinion of his leadership style.

I mostly don't reprint anonymous comments because I don't have time.

Charlie Mas said...

I have said it before, and I will say it again.

The best thing that Dr. Nyland can do with his time as interim superintendent would be to take steps to address the culture of lawlessness in Seattle Public Schools. All he has to do is his job: follow policy himself and enforce policy on his staff.

Ed said...

Say it more Charlie!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No, the best thing Nyland could do would be dismantle the gigantic bureaucracy that Banda dumped on us. I mean, Executive Director of Leadership? Huh? That's something like Executive Director of Director-hood. We can not support an every growing expensive director caste, complete with layers. Even if we can afford it financially, we can't afford it operationally.

-Reader