Thursday, December 11, 2014

Seattle School Board Votes for Nyland

From SPS Communications about the appointment of Dr. Nyland as permanent superintendent:

The Seattle School Board has selected Dr. Larry Nyland as the permanent superintendent for Seattle Public Schools. Nyland has held the interim role since last summer. The 5-2 vote, allows Board President Sherry Carr to negotiate a new contract with Nyland, which the board will vote on January 7, 2015. If approved, Nyland’s contract would be extended through June 17, and would switch from interim to permanent at the end of June 2015.

“I have chosen to evaluate Dr. Nyland not only on his last 17 weeks in Seattle Public Schools, but his past 40 years in education,” said Sherry Carr, Seattle School Board President applauding his career successes and need for stability in the district.

“We have a lot of work to do to support systems, and to better support students, said Interim Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland. “I look forward to working with them. Thank you.”

Nyland will hold a press conference on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 at 2 p.m. at the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence. *Media, please meet in the lobby.

So it was the vote count I said it would be.  No surprise there.

It's fine that Carr wants to take Nyland's entire career into account but she chose ONLY his career to assess.

From the Times' article:

We need his steady, clearheaded and highly skilled leadership to stabilize the district and fix what’s broken,” Peaslee said. She also said Nyland fits what the public said it wanted in a superintendent during the board’s last search in 2012.

I honestly do not think that survey was the be all and end all to public discussion about a superintendent but boy, the Board members who supported the vote seem to.  

Also, there is a lot of "he knows how to fix this district" and "fix what's broken."  Okay then, that's the bar the Board has set.

Also, there is mention -over and over - of some big "plan" he has.  I was told it was mostly the info he referenced in his State of the District speech.  I heard very few specifics in it so again, we can only wait.

Also in the Times' report:

Just five members of the public testified at the meeting about Nyland.

Well, sure just five signed up  (and you'll note the Times left out whether they were for or against the appointment but I can guess.)  The public has been cut out of the decision.  McLaren says that input is needed for policies, not people.  So why would anyone bother on a terrible weather night to come down to JSCEE?


Anonymous said...

Said it before. Saying it again.

The fact that Peaslee and McLaren ran on community engagement as the foundation of their campaigns then abandoned it on their most important duty - hiring the super - with an announcement that "we know better" forever stains their legacy as board members.

No matter if they run again or not or whether Nyland's good or not. At the end of the day they didn't uphold their stated core belief.

Quite the opposite. They abandoned it publicly and unapologetically. That's called morally bankrupt.

Tis the season for bah humbug.


Anonymous said...

Additionally, if the big hope of the board is to stabilize JSCEE administration - which to me means solidifying the roles and scope of most of the people currently there - then who out in blogland is leaping up and down at this prize?

Are we thrilled or even happy - ok how about able to live with - the current guidance around general ed, special ed, highly capable ed, English Language Learner ed or Language Immersion ed? How about facilities and planning? Equitable Access to services? Technology? Testing? Athletics? Principals? Transportation? Operations? Procedures and Policies?

What exactly are we stabilizing here? Is the district better off than a decade ago? OK, we don't have the ego of MGJ and the corruption of some of her administrators. Besides that?

This hire isn't stablization. It's calcification.


Peaslee's Promise said...

Peaslee's campaign rhetoric:

"We also need to flip the top-down governance of the district that ignores parents, teachers and students until bad decisions are followed by public outcry. We need to remember that public schools belong to their communities and restore local control. School communities must be genuinely involved in the entire process of making major decisions that impact their schools and children."

Marty McLaren spouted nonsense about Truth, Trust, Transparency and "Our House".

Both of these individuals were willing to shove the appointment of the superintendent through on Thanksgiving Eve. Clearly, an attempt to shield themselves from public thoughts/ comments.

Last night, McLaren didn't want Nyland to be scrutinized

At the dias, there were ridiculous discussions regarding phone conversations between directors/ Jonathan Knapp. Where was Knapp and why didn't he testify?

The Seattle Council PTSA was left-out of any conversations.

Peaslee's Promise said...

Nyland will be the guy that got shoved through on Thanksgiving eve., and Peaslee was the one to do it.

Anonymous said...

Will someone succinctly summarize what should have occurred by law and what occurred regarding the appointment? Was the law broken in this appointment? People who are unfamiliar with these events will likely want to understand.


mirmac1 said...

Since Nyland is their man, the Times is good with that. But When Banda was picked/what's her face wasn't, the Times was all about critiquing the process and Banda 's "last man standing" to place him on the defensive.

Blethen and friends feel safe with the latest events.

Eric B said...

@Naftali, I don't think that any laws were broken. The Board has the right to choose the Superintendent in any way they see fit. I think the big issue is that it was rammed through with little or no public input after the Board and Nyland had committed to the opposite (public input and a hiring search/process).

Anonymous said...

@Naftali - Eric is absolutely right. The discontent over this situation is more about process than procedure.

That several current Board members ran on platforms that very clearly stated the importance of community engagement and now see that same community as just so much...noise is very disheartening.

So no one broke any laws. Just banged up some spirits and likely lost future votes in upcoming elections. Time will tell


Po3 said...

Well so be it. I am going to move on from the fall missteps and look forward to some real work being done next year - beyond PreK.

Lawful? said...

Well, don't be quick to think that NO laws were broken. As I understand it, school boards are required to have unanimous votes when hiring a superintendent.

Not only were Peaslee's actions gross, she might of needed a unanimous vote and she failed to do so.

I need to do the research.

Lawful? said...

I believe Nyland was put- in place to ram the city's prek program into Seattle Public Schools come hell or high water.

Adams elementary school is loosing their play ground because portables are being added. Next year, the district plans on adding 2 more portables.

Kids need to run and play!

John said...

Shouldn't there have been some type of open meeting before the board moved to hire the superintendent?

One thing happened: The board met behind closed doors. Then, wa la there was a move to hire the superintendent within 8 days.

It is not like we see a lot of lawful practices in the ole' John Stanford Center. This should be researched.

Anonymous said...

Section 1983 Liability
Under 42 U.S.C. §1983, when a school employee, acting under color of state law, causes the
violation of a well‐settled federal right of which a reasonable person would have known, he
or she may be personally liable for damages, and if there is proof that the violation was
undertaken with a malicious or oppressive intent or due to a callous indifference to the
federal right then punitive damages may be awarded.
Qualified Immunity Defense
Qualified immunity is a defense available for public officials when they perform a
discretionary act, if their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or
constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. Harlow v. Fitzgerald,
457 U.S. 800, 815‐17, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 2736‐37 (1982).
“Clearly established” means that the contours of the rights were so clear at the time

boil yourwater

Anonymous said...

I believe only the termination of Supt. has to be unanimous - not the hiring.


Anonymous said...

That could be true, but that's why you should have a unanimous vote for hiring the position. To make things worst I believe most of the proponents of Nyland will not be re-elected to the board. If one proponent remains then Nyland could NOT be removed from the position.

attrca charitable

mirmac1 said...

No federal right here. Just the usual sleazy greasing of the palm by "external stakeholders"

Richard Nixon said...

What did Nyland know about the Gates contract and when did he know it?

Who gave Nyland the contract? Did Nyland have conversations with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation? Did Nyland seek legal advice?

Melissa Westbrook said...


Those are great questions. I also want to know:

1) in order to fulfill the guardian request, what did Legal request from Sped? Who sent what to whom?

2) Did Sped know what they sent Legal? Did Legal know what was in the electronic file?

3) When Legal sent that file to the law firm, what did they tell them to do with it?

Between the Gates grant and the data breech, Nyland is refusing to be accountable on these questions and answer whether any staff are being held accountable for these mistakes.

Jannike Johnsen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jannike Johnsen said...

There was no vote by SEA to support Nyland's appointment. Any support given was strictly Jonathan Knapp's personal support only. He does not speak for this member, or for many others.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, and that's another issue.

SEA had NO vote. The principals' group had express unhappiness at not being asked and somehow they are now for this.

The Board of the SCPTA is being totally ignored (at least publicly).

I think it is time for parents to consider their options.

Anonymous said...

I watched bits and pieces of the Special School Board Meeting.

Didn't they at one point say that only 51% of the principals supported voted Nyland in as permanent superintendent? While that is technically an was not a very strong one.

Also, evidently the directors each received a personal phone call from Jonathan Knappe. There was no email, or anything in writing about the SEA "endorsement."

Attempts made by Sue Peters to determine whether or not a SEA survey had actually been done were squashed as not being a part of the phone call from Knappe (a description of the phone call had been stated "for the record" and directors were to speak up if what they heard was different than that stated.

The desperate grasping at thin air for endorsements was just pathetic.

The kicker was Director McLaren stating that yes, instead of stating this past summer that there would be a full search, they could have said there COULD be a search, but then that would have caused too much scrutiny of Dr. Nyland's performance in his first months on the job.

The entire discussion around the vote was just bizarre.

- reality check

Charlie Mas said...

We wouldn't want too much scrutiny of the superintendent's job performance, now would we?

Anonymous said...

No survey done by SEA concerning Nyland.

--OldSchool Music