Amazing Phone Call

I wrote to Gary Ray who is the head of Ray and Associates, the company doing the superintendent search. I outlined recent history (not completely objectively, I'd be the first to admit) , talked about many people wanting an educator (after no selection process of the last 2 who were not educators) but that I wasn't not wedded to the idea but I wanted the best fit for our district.

Unbelievably, a lead from the team doing the search called me to thank me for the e-mail! Very unexpected and very appreciated. He said they did double-search candidates on the web using two different search engines and that they had Mike Riley over in Bellevue on their radar.

For me, a ray of hope and promise. I'm going to go into these meetings next week with an open mind and suggestions. I hope every one of these meetings is packed.


Anonymous said…
Mike Riley. Cannot agree. Interesting results but at too high a price.

Check out the Bellevue Schools website - it has less info than SPS's. It does not invite comment or communicate via Email, etc. to Superintendent or Boardmembers.

Note the trending towards warehousing and mandatory assignment of non-AP, non "brilliant", and not necessarily college bound high school kids at Robinswood "alternative" High School that has no enrichment programs, no AP, very few extracurricular programs and has significant drug and behavioral incidents.

I don't believe SPS would be well served by this gentleman who himself and his administration lauds the high Newsweek and other "high ratings" and scores at every opportunity, but at the expense of whom?

I do not believe SPS's intensely rich diverse and active communities or boardmembers would appreciate or put up with this heavy handedness.

Am told and heard specific anecdotes that a great many children are enrolled in private schools, e.g., Eastside Catholic, as a reaction to these policies.
Anonymous said…
I'm afraid you'll never please everyone. That's the problem with education. Decision by committee . .. but which committee? So, stalemate.

Also, Riley does have a great reputation over there. He probably would be good but not everyone's taste. He's sort of dictatorial. Which may be good . . . who knows at this point.

Finally, he decreed that Investigations would be the math program and every single classroom does it. There are just as many parents at the "Where's the Math" meetings as Seattle parents. A lot of people don't like it.

I used to watch a program series on the education channel and several of them talked about superintendants. None had an easy time and few were successful. Everybody's an expert when it comes to teaching and schools.
serendip57 said…
Unbelievably, a lead from the team doing the search called me to thank me for the e-mail! Very unexpected and very appreciated.

I think you have been just dealing with Seattle too long Melissa.
It isn't that unusual for firms to respond to their clients.
Afterall, they are recieving money for this, and you aren't a crackpot, but have already shown your committment to a measured process- by serving on CAC.

It is welcome but not unexpected to have those in charge have communication as a priority.
Ive had direct response from Sally Jewell ( CEO of REI) for example, when asking for help regarding support for the Post84 program through mountaineers for the school district.

Its just that the district is very spotty at communication, and it doesn't improve the lower down you go.
serendip57 said…
Personally I like Norm Rice- I don't think we need an educator- I think we need someone who sees what needs to be done & can build consensus to do it.
Norm can do that, we have seen him do it.

However, the way his name ( and by whom) was brought to the table, has clouded the eyes of many who otherwise may have thought he would be a a great candidate.

Riley has his strengths- but I also worry he would leave many, who should/think they should be, involved out of the decision making process.

( I do think we need someone with a very strong grasp of their" vision" for Seattle school children, who is able to communicate that in a clear manner , with clear measurable steps on the way to those goals- is Riley that person? I don't know- but he has also shown that he isn't afraid to stick to his agenda)

Bellevue is also more diverse than Seattle -the city & the district- and while I acknowledge that many do attend regional private schools, not just the ones located on the Eastside, but in Seattle, as well as homeschooling-most do attend public schools.

Bellevue has been a leader at making positive academic changes, while other districts tiptoe around the idea of them. Adding an additional period to the high school day for instance- something virtually all private high schools already have.

When we consider, that to be accepted at many colleges- students need 4 years of math/english/history/science/foreign language & arts- its difficult to fulfill those expectations, as well as the states PE & vocational requirements with only 6 sections a day.
additionally- I feel it is important for students to have electives-a specialized history or science course for example, or both a photography and music course,

At the very least- we should offer staffed study halls, to give all students time to finish their homework/work on projects, since many students may not have the support at home to do that.

But while it seems like we just went through this superintendent selection process- it is important to be involved yet again.

I particulary plan to ascertain why ASL translators are not listed as available & why despite the numbers of Russians and other European immigrants in our area, why are all the stated translators for Asian and African languages?
serendip57 said…
I misspoke regarding the districts diversity- I was using the figures from the Eastside region
However- more students do attend public schools in Bellevue- although Seattle district is more diverse ethnically
Anonymous said…
Keep in mind that SPS has been doing better than Bellevue on things like WASL scores...
Anonymous said…
To those seeking an educator, I would remind you that Pre-Sanford, when the Sups were predominately educators, the worst kept secret in town was that the District's lawyer, Mike Hogue, really ran the District. Jsut hiring an educator is not a solution. Hiring the right person is. And that right person has to be someone who can stand up to the Board, not a trait that will win votes in the hiring process!

As for those who think Norm Rice is the answer. Dig a little deeper into why he left his last job. I don't think SPS needs Superintendent who aleady has a reputation for fiscal mismanagement.
Anonymous said…
Please, take Mike Riley! Many of us in Bellevue would LOVE to get rid of him. What he has done to our school system has been devastating to our kids. We no longer have choice in Bellevue (as we once did). The district goals are to push kids into AP and IB classes to boost Bellevue's stats. We continually are told what a great system we have, because our schools were singled out by national magazines. In truth, Mike Riley has been good at promoting himself, and the system, but he has done very little for children, and the quality of education in Bellevue has declined during his administration. Nothing would make me (a Bellevue parent of 3) happier than for Mike Riley to go away.
Anonymous said…
Hey, thanks for visiting my multiage classroom. Greenwood School continues to grow with passion to be the best. I'm proud to be here because of the huge support from my student's parent/guardians/and people who they live with. They make the difference.

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