Monday, July 18, 2016

New Head of School and Community Partnerships at Seattle Schools

 Update: I was confused on Bernardo Ruiz' role versus what James Bush is doing.  Here's the helpful explanation from SPS Communications:

James is replacing Carri Campbell’s open/former position.

Bernardo is still here. His title is Director of School-Family Partnerships and Race and Equity. (The difference is Community vs. Family Partnerships.)

End of update

From SPS Communications:
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) hired James Bush as the district’s School and Community Partnerships Director. In collaboration with community partners, Bush will lead the district’s efforts to build on the strengths of students, improve outcomes and provide enriching learning opportunities for all youth. SPS and the School and Community Partnerships staff are thrilled Bush has decided to join the SPS family.

 Bush was selected for the position after a national search and an extensive interview process that included community partners, key leaders, central office and school staff. His deep knowledge of the Seattle community, demonstrated understanding of best practices in school and community partnerships and commitment to racial equity made him the clear choice for the job. Bush will oversee strategic partnerships with the City of Seattle, Seattle Public Libraries and Seattle Housing Authority as well as provide leadership and support for the hundreds of community based organizations working in our schools.
“I am excited to join Seattle Public Schools. This opportunity is a natural extension of my long term commitment to youth, families and our community. I look forward to working closely with our partners and SPS staff to provide resources to students and families, and ensure the success of every student in our care,” said James Bush, School and Community Partnerships Director.
Prior to joining SPS, Bush served as the neighborhood programs manager at the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods where he managed a variety of community building programs including: Neighborhood District Coordinators, Public Outreach and Engagement Liaisons, Neighborhood Matching Fund and People’s Academy for Community Engagement programs. He also served as a key leader in the City of Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative for three City of Seattle mayors.
A Seattle native, Bush grew up in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. He attended the University of Washington where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s in public administration from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. The district is committed to positive school and community partnerships and will organize an opportunity for partners to meet Bush in the early fall.

So I hope this is a good thing.  Mr. Bush looks well-qualified.  But I believe Bernardo Ruiz was Equity and Race Relations, School & Family Partnerships and Native American Education but it's unclear to me if he is still there or is just doing Race & Equity and Native American Education.  If the district did break up this office, then that's one more administrator at SPS.    I'll ask.

Also to note, I have heard the district is to get another former employee of the mayor's office.  In some ways, that makes me a little nervous because it's the same feeling I got from TFA folks having a toehold in the district.  I'll let you know if this comes to pass. 

SPS has got to have a page with an updated org chart because the turnover and movement of people at JSCEE makes it hard to wrap your head around who is there and who does what. 


Catherine said...

Considering how ineffective DON is at outreach.... I'm hoping he left because he couldn't stand the disfunction there.

Anonymous said...

I always got the impression that Mr. Ruiz's title was so similar to the other one because he had created a fiefdom within SPS and no one had the spine to change it (and make it easy to tell what he did vs. those with the School and Community Partnerships title). Just never made sense to me.

- Working Title

Charlie Mas said...

Mr. Ruiz works to foster relationships between schools and their communities.

James Bush's job is to foster relationships between the district and community groups, such as the Alliance for Education, the Chamber of Commerce, the League of Education Voters, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others.

Leslie Harris said...


I think the world of and have learned so much from you. I do however, wish to place your statement "is to foster relationships between the district and community groups, such as the Alliance for Education, the Chamber of Commerce, the League of Education Voters, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others" into context - it isn't incorrect because of "and others" - but please be assured that Mr. Bush's job and Ms. Campbell's before that was NOT focused on these groups but on communities and others - Can we please give Mr. Bush a chance before we mischaracterize his role and Ms. Campbell as well in her new capacity of Chief Engagement Officer as well as the current Board - I think you'll find some of the new tools for engagement coming on board :) good ones.

Thanks much.

Leslie Harris
Dist. 6, SPS Director

Charlie Mas said...

I'm sorry, did I mischaracterize Mr. Bush's role?
Did I not give him a chance? A chance to do what?

Those who are interested can visit the Community Partnerships page and click through to a spreadsheet with the list of various community groups and how they are working with specific schools.