Monday, December 01, 2014

Seattle Council PTSA Board States Position on Superintendent Issue

Bravo.  From the Seattle Council PTSA Board, who once again, are clear and concise in their concerns which I consider valid (bold mine):

Dear Seattle School Board Directors,

As strong advocates for family engagement, we are concerned about the timing and rushed nature to appoint Dr. Nyland permanently through 2017. 
Our council board feels that a search for a Superintendent could provide other qualified candidates, however we also believe that providing consistent leadership and stability for staff and families also has value for our district at this time.  When asked to provide support for a contract extension for Dr. Nyland as interim Superintendent, we agreed.  Dr. Nyland's commitment to stewardship and accountability of SPS resources, closing the opportunity gap, providing better customer service, and responding to parent concerns is encouraging.  However, when appointing a permanent Superintendent these criteria and commitments should be fully assessed through a formal process.  
SCPTSA did not realize the School Board would be voting on this action so quickly without providing time for families to engage.  The specifics of the contract extension, specifically to make this a permanent appointment, and the process for hiring the Superintendent, were unknown even to us.  Families have been led to believe that there would be a full and transparent search process for the appointment of a new Superintendent.  Five days' notice over a holiday weekend is simply not enough time.
The School Board should move at a more deliberate pace.  This rushed action will likely perpetuate distrust of the School Board and the District.  Rushed decisions continue to force parents to react instead of being able to engage effectively in their children's education.   
We ask the School Board to delay this vote to explain the decision process to parents and school communities and allow sufficient time for response.  It is vital the School Board takes the proper time to confirm the right person is being hired as the permanent Superintendent of our schools.

Seattle Council PTSA Board
Katherine Schomer, President
Cassandra Johnston, Vice President
Dianne Casper, Secretary
Jenny Young, Treasurer
Eden Mack, Advocacy/Legislative chair
Julie van Arcken, Central Area Director
Cecilia McCormick, Special Education Director
Annabel Quintero, South West Area Director

CC: PTA Board Leadership for all 82 PTA Local Units in Seattle


Not Surprised said...

The Alliance for Education is behind this rushed effort.

From the Alliance from Education:

"Sara Morris, the Alliance’s president, said her organization has no position on whether the board should seek more public input."

Robert Cruickshank said...

Bravo to the Seattle PTSA. This is exactly the right response. Let's hope cooler heads prevail on the board.

TheGoodFight said...

Both Nyland and the board can go suck it!

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a bait and switch! Asking for a PTSA endorsement for an interim extension and then putting it forward as an endorsement for a permanent hire.

If Peaslee, McLaren, Peters or Patu vote for this, they will lose all credibility of their core reason for getting voted onto the board: Community Involvement Early and Often.

Don't do it ladies. Just don't do it.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I had JUST heard that Peaslee (and possibly another Board member had gone to the SCPTSA Board to ask for their endorsement of this idea but it was for interim.

I'm sure the SCPTSA Board feels like it WAS a bait and switch.

Wow said...

Where was SEA on this issue? Will the board claim SEA and SCPTSA support?

A SEA member writes:

To: SEA Officers
Subject: SEA Response to 3 Dec. School Board Agenda Item on Dr. Nyland?

Is there an SEA response to the following?

According to reporting on Seattle's 2 independent education blogs there is an effort by Seattle's School Board to open the door to hiring Dr. Nyland for the superintendent position of Seattle Public Schools with limited public input. I have cc'd Ms. Westbrook and Ms. Taylor on this email because it was their public work (1.) (2.)which has brought this issue to the attention of the public.

I personally find it troubling that such an important decision by a publicly elected school board affecting a public school district would be made with so little time for public input.

I am putting the contents of this email on the following blog (3.) because I feel that it is best that my concerns about public involvement be public, instead of the contents of back channel emails ...

(1.) Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Seattle School Board Moves to Install Nyland Permanently

(2.) November 29, 2014

Seattle Public School Board President Sharon Peaslee pulling ed reform tactics?

Wow said...

"I had JUST heard that Peaslee (and possibly another Board member had gone to the SCPTSA Board to ask for their endorsement of this idea but it was for interim."

I hope we hear more about this issue and I hope the SCPTSA shows=up to testify.

TheGoodFight said...

Can't SPS make it a week without alienating parents? It was a short week at that.

I don't personally like the role of superintendent. The position is a relic from days gone by, but I would welcome any person in that position who would show RE the door.

I also believe PEASLEE already cleared her move with the rest of the board, because to act as a board of only two would be the end of any sense of board unity.

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

Peaslee must have felt the heat and changed the superintendent item to introduction- only.

Peaslee attempted to pull a fast one. It will be interesting to know whether or not she intended to mislead the SCPTSA. Her true colors have been shown.

Action to select a permanent superintendent – Approval of this item would authorize the Board President to negotiate a contract with Dr. Larry Nyland for the position of Superintendent. (Director Peaslee has requested that action on this item by delayed to a special meeting of the Board on December 10, 2014)
(intro/ action

Anonymous said...

Apparently the Supt is feeling the heat, too. It now reads:

"the Superintendent has requested that introduction of this item be delayed to the January 7, 2015 Board meeting"

Half Full

Anonymous said...

Okay, so they realized that people are paying attention. Next step, however, is for them to proceed with the search process. They previously indicated 12/3 is the cutoff for making that decision, but since they had decided to hold off, there's nothing on the agenda that supports that work. What good is delaying the appointment if it's inevitable?

Half Full

Patrick said...

Or, what else is happening this week that the District would prefer we not be paying attention to, so they brought up the rushed permanent Super hire expecting it to be shot down?

SPS makes me cynical.

Charlie Mas said...

Here is a link to the revised agenda with the intro/action changed to intro and a link to the Board Action Report with the December 10 action date.

It would be great if the rest of the Board would oppose the change and simply vote the motion down for how badly it was brought.

It would be great if the Board rejected the special meeting on the 10th in favor of a special meeting on the 17th or the regular meeting scheduled for January 7.

The Special Meeting is already on the Board calendar. That was fast. They didn't even vote to have it yet.

Charlie Mas said...

I notice that the Board Officers will be elected on December 3. It's possible that Director Peaslee will not be the Board President on December 10.

Charlie Mas said...

Oh. I notice that immediate action is no longer in the best interests of the District.

Anonymous said...

Hey, does anyone know where you would find the Superintendent's evaluation they did last week? Shouldn't that be made public?

What are the criteria for evaluating him, and how did he rate?


Anonymous said...

Reposting for Anonymous (Please give yourself a name next time):
Does anyone have examples to back up this part of the SCPTSA letter?

"Dr. Nyland's commitment to stewardship and accountability of SPS resources, closing the opportunity gap, providing better customer service, and responding to parent concerns is encouraging."

Or is that statement just an effort to be polite? I haven't noticed these as particular strengths, but I assume there are others with a different perspective...

12/1/14, 5:38 PM

I think they were referring to the Times article of Nov 27th which said the following:
"Though the Seattle district has seen improvements in student learning in recent years, those efforts plateaued a little this spring, Nyland said.

“I’m concerned about the opportunity gap for 30 percent of our students who still aren’t proficient at grade level,” he said. “My passion is student learning. There’s some more work that needs to be done there, especially for our students of color.”

Other priorities include instituting some “changes in course” for the district’s special-education program and studying whether later start times — especially for high school students — would help kids improve academically, he said.

The fourth main goal has to do with “stewardship and accountability in our culture,” he said. Included in that is establishing clear systems and communication between departments and providing good customer service to parents and the public, Nyland said.

The idea of providing customer service gets to how the district can “do a better job of getting answers to parents and responding to concerns from the public,” he said."

- LL

Gads said...

The interim's evaluation can be found here:

After getting caught:

"The Board also appreciates his willingness to admit when there is a problem, to take responsibility as the District leader and to apologize when he is at fault."

Melissa Westbrook said...

1) Nyland SAYS a lot but hasn't done a lot.

2) Sorry is NOT enough. It's great he can admit a mistake but he was NOT the only person to make the mistake. He won't hold anyone accountable.

He hasn't for the Sped student data breach nor the Gates Foundation grant signing.

These things happened on his watch and he needs to do more than shrug and say sorry.

Anonymous said...

Our typical search process is a waste of time and money. Remember the search where the board gave up after certain candidates were not thoroughly vetted and embarrassment ensured?

National? Regional? It doesn't matter. Everyone we hire is over paid, effs us, then leaves to fail upward elsewhere. Remember Banda? We helped him LEAVE and now we're going to pay another do-nothing the same if not more money? And all the while, we have kids doing time in portable.

Our recent searches have yielded a disaster (Goodloe-Johnson) and a slacker (Banda)? And now we have a highly paid placeholder making $1537 per day plus benefits. That's a lot of stew for someone who has a selective memory and says "Oops!" after doing this gig for how many years?

Here's your reality check:

Some of our governors forgo a salary. None of them come close to what we pay a superintendent. The old lie that we must pay well in order to attract "the best" is just that. A lie. We pay a sup more than we pay a governor, for what exactly? For rape culture, fiscal mismanagement and over crowding.

This must stop.

Invite qualified candidates to apply. We have an HR department. Other than harassing teachers, what are we paying them for? Anyone with a clue and a data base can vet anyone. I'm sure they can do the same. If they can't, get rid of them. WSP performs background checks all the time.


mirmac1 said...


You are inside my head.

Anonymous said...

As a sensible position (one not motivated by some unspoken agenda), Mr. Nyland's position makes no sense. He states he wants to stay 2 to 3 years max. He has been here now about 4 or 5 months (half of it during the summer). IF a search occurred (and here I thought due to his consulting position, he would be a great interim to help in something like that), it will be next summer at the earliest before a new Superintendent could be hired -- and if the process takes two passes, it would take until the following summer -- voila, 2 years. So -- why are we cutting off a search? If he only wants 2 years, why isn't he willing to be the interim for somewhere between 8 and 20 months, while we look for the next Superintendent?

This has the same deceptive feel that much of the MGJ era had -- when people just said "made up stuff" all the time and somehow thought they were believable. You never knew what was going on, but you knew you were being sold a load of fertilizer.