Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Executive Committee Meeting of the Whole

An update if you were thinking of going to the COW meeting this afternoon which says it will be about the search firm for the selection of our next superintendent.

There had been a notation on the agenda that it might not happen so I checked in with the ever-sunny Theresa Hale at the Board office.

It seems that the Executive Session last night ran over three hours and, they didn't get finished.  (You may recall this was about a review of Superintendent Nyland which seems kind of soon given he just got here six months ago.)

So the COW meeting won't happen until that Executive Session is finished.  

Meaning, you could go down there, wait until the Executive Session is finished and hope that they then commence the COW meeting. 

Or, you could go down and be disappointed if the Board takes longer, is exhausted and then postpones the COW meeting.

I get all this except for one thing. 

As it turns out, I am getting some very pronounced vibes - both from sources and my own instinct after years of district watching - that there is a move afoot to radically change our district.

Here's what I think may happen.  I think that there may - once again - be arguing over whether this Board should choose the next superintendent (because the majority of the Board is up for election next November so wait until after that happens) OR to continue the process.

Now I think it ridiculous to wait until after the election.  Why? 

One, we have a perfectly good Board right NOW and that's their job.

 Two, the new Board will NOT be equipped to do this work right off the bat. 

I also think that soon - probably mid-December to mid-January - you will hear a new drumbeat that the Board should just extend Nyland's interim contract another six months.  He's good, the Mayor will be starting his "community conversation" about public education, etc.


Because really, what the pause button on the superintendent search would be about is to allow the Mayor and those forming the "Committee to Overthrow the Board" time to complete their machinations which may end up involving the Legislature. 

We all need to say - early and loudly - NO to any delays on this process. 


Po3 said...

Who is up for re-election next November?

Anonymous said...

Peaslee, Carr, Martin-Morris, and McLaren.

-- Ivan Weiss

Eric B said...

Extending Nyland's contract for 6 months is extending it for a year. We're not going to get a new super mid-year. My first thought was that you were talking about elections this year, and I was thinking that of course the search should start now, and the new board can make the decision after they're in office. Of course, we're talking delaying until elections Nov 2015. That's nuts, regardless of whether there's a move for mayoral control.

The Board has two jobs, hiring a super and setting/enforcing policy. Since they don't do the latter in a significant way, they have plenty of time for the former. Not to mention that my election choices will be partly determined by how they do the search job.

Anonymous said...

I wish I thought writing them would do any good.

My sense lately is that us lowly citizen types have very little impact on what the Board does/does not do.

Clearly there's a game afoot and its being played outside of the public eye...


Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader 47, do not stay silent even if you choose to not write to the Board or Mayor.

Let your friends and neighbors know that the Mayor (and his friends) are not going to play fair.

I think it is a gamble that he will regret and that he will be blamed for.

mirmac1 said...

I disagree. I fear the chaotic, beauty contest crap-shoot that our searches have produced. Give me the tortoise over the hare any day. Lacking an established leader for any length of time will give Murray even more excuses to fob his Holly Miller replacement off as the City/district visionary, reform leader. I bet Wright is interviewing with the City as we speak.

Move Forward said...

Superintendent searches are nothing more than a horse and pony show that takes time, energy resources and serves as a distraction.

There will always be an ongoing game of chess for power control.

Keep Nyland and move forward.

Eric B said...

I don't want to keep Nyland and move forward without a competitive hiring process. The search doesn't have to be national. I'd certainly support a local search. But Nyland was hired too quickly with too little time to think to be a permanent super. That's the way it has to be when finding an interim, but it's no way to choose a permanent successor. I would hope that Nyland would apply if he's interested. He may even have a leg up. But he should have to apply.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Read my new thread - Nyland either isn't paying attention or is just being handed things to sign AND he signs them.

Reader47 said...

Oh I haven't been silent - just discouraged. I do agree that Mr. Nyland should not, especially after this BMGF snafu, be handed the keys to the questionable kingdom without competition.

I trust the mayor even less (if that's possible) than most of the SPS board but he's clearly got some powerful kingmakers "working" for him.

Can't wait to get out of this city!


Anonymous said...

It's not a secret that the mayor and Burgess want to take over the district. It's part of the political plan hatched by his consultants to make him more Bloomberg-esque. Feldstein a part of it too - that's why they hired him from New York and also set up the Education Department. And Hanauer $$$ helping to pay for research to do it.

Pro-sleep Mom said...

I was quite upset by the premature signing of the grant- but I was also pleased to see that Nyland would publicly apologize for doing it, and say he will hold to proper policy in the future. I have to give him kudos for this; people taking responsibility for errors and promising to do better is an attitude that could go a long way downtown.

Changing superintendents generally means big turnover of staff- and important projects getting delayed or derailed. We need to fix SPED, we need to change bell times, we need to protect our kids' data. I'd like to keep him and keep moving forward.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Pro-sleep, he got caught. Do you think this would be happening if me and others didn't call it out?

How fast are things going on SPed?

Bell times? Staff fought long and hard against this.

Student data privacy? I'm virtually the only one speaking out.

If you like Nyland is or will be doing anything real on these issues, I think you'll be waiting a long time.

He's co-opted now and if you want to see this be the Seattle Alliance for Education, then sure, keep him.

Mia said...


"It's not a secret that the mayor and Burgess want to take over the district. It's part of the political plan hatched by his consultants to make him more Bloomberg-esque. Feldstein a part of it too - that's why they hired him from New York and also set up the Education Department. And Hanauer $$$ helping to pay for research to do it. "

Do you have evidence that Hanauer is funding research?

Anonymous said...

Yes - PLEASE DO disrupt senior staff priorities.

Teachers in classrooms vs. NEW staff positions at JSCEE.

Enacting proven supports to student learning such as bell time changes, vs. lots and lots and lots or new and experimental tests.

Holla to disruption.


Melissa Westbrook said...


Back to basics.

Weary said...

It is interesting that Janet Blanford, Previous College and Career Readiness Director is now working as a "temporary employee" in the city's education office.