Disqus

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is Susan Enfield Doing a Great Job?

Every so often someone suggests that I take the job of superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. It's a bad idea. I lack the skill set and experience for the job. Not only don't I have executive experience, I don't even have management experience. Others suggest that since I'm not qualified to do the job then I'm not qualified to critique the performance of those who do. That's another bad idea. I can't play second base for the Mariners, but I can assess the performance of those who do. I can't do the president's job or Ben Affleck's job, but I can critique their performances as well. I don't need to have done the job or even have the skills to do the job to have an informed opinion about the performance of the person in the job. What? You think Roger Ebert can act or direct?

That said, if I were suddenly made superintendent on March 16 (like Claudius finding himself Caesar) what would I do? What would you do?

First, I would assume it was an interim appointment. Then I would ask myself: what is the best thing I could do for the District in 15 months? How could I make it ready for success with the next superintendent? The answer is clear: try to fix the fundamental flaws.

I would focus on correcting the dysfunctional culture in the District bureaucracy. How? To change a culture you almost always have to replace the people. I would start firing people all over the place, starting in the nastiest dens of dysfunction. I would fire all of those corrupt sandbag losers in Facilities. I would fire the head of the most messed-up department, Human Resources. I would clear out some of the deadwood in the JSCEE. There would be some serious changes in Communications. I would find allies - wherever they appeared in the org chart - and put them in charge (at least for the interim). Where that wasn't possible I would bring in experienced, expert people from the outside for interim roles. I would look to hire some new brooms for the long-term.

So isn't this what Dr. Enfield has done? Could you look at her first 100 days and see a clear (and probably intentional) effort to change the culture of the District?

The Director of HR Chief Talent Officer is gone. Fast.

Dr. Enfield cleaned house in Facilities. The new guys use data and analysis as the basis for their advice - and they play it straight. They have no loyalties or alliances to any of the established factions within the District.

Do-nothing Cordell Carter is now officially doing nothing. Failed principals hidden in administration have been pushed out into schools where, if they fail again, they can be fired. The revolving door at Communications has turned again.

She elevated Pegi McEvoy to interim head of Operations. This move really only makes sense through the lens of finding someone on the inside who didn't play the internal politics game. I got the vibe that Ms McEvoy was not a party to the dysfunction. She seems too naive candid for that. Seriously, she was genuinely astonished to hear that the District hasn't kept its promises to students and families. It was inconceivable to her. That schoolgirl innocence couldn't be fake.

Dr. Enfield brought in Bob Boesché as interim CFO. This guy doesn't appear to be infected with the bureaucracy disease and he knows that he's a temp, so he has no motivation to build a fief.

I think she has been making things pretty uncomfortable for that bumbling crew of idiots in IT as well. Seriously, Jim Ratchford had better watch his ass. He needs to smile less and work more. He has already become more candid in his reports to the Board about the VAX.

The only department where she hasn't knocked heads is Teaching and Learning. That stands to reason since it was her department and she already had it the way she wanted it. Unfortunately it is one of the departments that is in the greatest need of reform. I fear she is too close to it to see the problems. She needs to put Cathy Thompson back in a school principal job and reorganize Teaching and Learning around a model that asks "How are you doing?" instead of a model that says "Here's how to do it."

I recently wrote a post decrying the lack of institutional memory in the District leadership, but maybe that's a good thing. Maybe the way to change the culture is with a leadership transplant.

Is this a legitimate (if sympathetic) interpretation of the facts or am I just so happy about being able to bowl again (back pain since August kept me off the lanes, but I bowled three games last night) that I'm seeing the world through rose colored glasses?

58 comments:

RosieReader said...

I agree she's had an interesting and productive start. Not without missteps, but who among us doesn't screw up from time to time? I remain cautiously optimistic that she has that rare ability to lead confidently and strongly, yet to rethink her position and admit she's made a mistake when necessary. That's the sort of person I love best to follow, and strive to be myself.

David said...

It is fair to say that she was put into the enormously difficult job of reforming a large and dysfunctional bureaucracy and is making progress.

However, it surprises me that she has not made and does not appear to be on a path to making more significant reductions in the central office. In this time of very tight budgets, any expenditure in central, any salary that is not for an actual teacher standing in front of an actual classroom, should be questioned and have to be justified.

Charlie Mas said...

The one really bad misstep in Dr. Enfield's first 100 days is, of course, the Martin Floe dismissal. What was Dr. Enfield's role?

Michael DeBell practically insisted that she fire a principal.

She had a supervisor's loyalty to Ms Dusseault. Good managers stand by their staff's decisions. Dr. Enfield hired Ms Dusseault and had been her direct supervisor. They have a professional relationship that demanded loyalty.

I presume there was also, somewhere, somehow, some kind of cause for the dismissal. It might not be entirely legitimate, but I presume there was something.

I don't know if Ms Dusseault needed Dr. Enfield's approval to move forward with it. Still, I presume that Dr. Enfield knew about the dismissal before the fact.

We know what happened. Ms Dusseault's experience and interpersonal skills weren't up to the task. Mr. Floe didn't go quietly, the community rose up with torches and pitchforks, Communications botched the message, and the whole bucket of slop was dumped on Dr. Enfield's desk.

What was she supposed to do? What could she do? What should she have done? I have to believe that she did the right thing.

So I'm not really seeing this as a misstep of hers - other than putting too much faith in Ms Dusseault. But that's a problem that should have been fixed on hire date.

Salander said...

I like the concept of asking how things are going instead of telling how things should be done.

However, then those at the top would have to humble themselves and admit they don't have the answers.

Then, as David say, they would have to admit that all those "teaching and learning" salaries are not justified.
Allowing people like Bree and Cathy can go around spouting their
wisdom and demands.

Charlie Mas said...

@David
Previous years' claims of reduction in the central staff proved false.

Have this years' claims proven false as well? Meg?

Honestly, if it turns out that Dr. Enfield is making false claims of staff reductions in the central office, then I will take back every nice thing I wrote about her.

Charlie Mas said...

I had a chance to meet with Dr. Enfield. At first I made a long list of issues to cover, but, in the end, I delivered this simple message:

The District has a clear mission: educate students. The schools have a clear mission: educate students. The central office, however, lacks a clear mission.

I encouraged her to identify the mission of the central office and to shed every task that didn't contribute to that mission.

I spoke recently with Pegi McEvoy and asked her what is the mission of the central office. Without hesitation she answered: to support schools. Still the ingenue, huh? I find that fawn-like innocence adorable.

If "support the schools" is the central office mission, then it requires those in the central administration to humbly serve, and not to boss, to support, not to lead.

SeattleSped said...

Enfield has continued to fumble the special education football. C'mon, get rid of the do-nothings downtown. They supposedly devised a "new improved" integrated/intensive service delivery model. Too bad NOBODY in the schools know WTF it is!

Wondering said...

Was Enfield involved with the bait and switch NTN contract?

Did Enfield lead the board to believe the School Reports were completed?

I don't know these answers. Please inform.

Patrick said...

I'm surprised by the statement that principals that have been moved to administration and aren't working out have to be moved back to a principalship before they can be fired. Aren't most administrators at-will employees?

Anonymous said...

Charlie wrote:

"The District has a clear mission: educate students. The schools have a clear mission: educate students. The central office, however, lacks a clear mission."

"If "support the schools" is the central office mission, then it requires those in the central administration to humbly serve, and not to boss, to support, not to lead."

So what happened to Rainier Beach HS?

-ps mom

RosieReader said...

Wearing my HR hat, I'd agree with your assessment of what went down in the Martin Floe situation. It's eminently plausible.

As I said at the time, if there had been a strong, well-staffed HR team in place, I doubt this would have played out as it did.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm flummoxed.

I know morale at JS is way up. She's just easier to communicate with than MGJ.

Points and kudos to Dr. Enfield. Tone and morale matter.

Staff reductions. Look, they keep say "central adm", not "central office." There IS a difference. If it were just the people at headquarters, I'd be impressed. It isn't. (And watch for my thread on what we pay these people.)

Show us the ENTIRE list of employees at Central Office and what got cut. You'll note they say it but don't show it.

I know that Dr. Enfield continues to meet with Stritikus at UW (presumably about TFA - twice over the last month at least). Presumably, they are talking about TFA (unless the Dean has some other new initiative). So she's still moving towards the Ed Reform agenda.

Let's see what she says tonight with the Mayor.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, What do you mean, that DeBell practically insisted that she fire a principal? why? Are you sure?

I haven't heard this.

Curious

Charlie Mas said...

@SeattleSped
To what extent is the clusterf**k in Special Education a cultural issue and to what extent is it an academic issue? I think it's academics, and therefore solidly in her blindspot. I don't know what she could do to make ICS successful. Well, I do, but the funding isn't there. For that matter, I question whether it would be acceptable for her to back out of ICS after so short a trial - no matter how disastrous.

There is one culture question. Does Marni Campbell fit in the new candid, transparent and responsive culture? She's not checking a lot of those boxes. But Dr. Enfield has proven resistant to shedding folks in her own tribe.

@Wondering
Dr. Enfield did not have a lot of involvement in the NTN contract, or really anything to do with STEM. That was Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's baby. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson personally chaired the STEM Steering Committee. The NTN proponents were mostly Broad interns and the superintendent.

@Patrick
I think some of these "failed principals" probably deserve another chance running a school. A lot of them were named as assistant principals. Some of them got a bad rap. If their positions in the administration aren't re-filled, it is an easy way to drop payroll out of the central office. Even if they aren't working as school principals, those folks are still members of PASS and are still covered by the collective bargaining agreement. So I don't think it would have been any easieer to fire them from their admin jobs than from jobs in schools.

@ps mom
Dr. Enfield has taken a while to name the new principal at Rainier Beach High School. No question about that. She has said that she would name the new principal this week, so that's the deadline I'll hold her to. I can't imagine the source of the delay. Does Michael Tolley have a role in the decision?

@Melissa
Again, TfA falls into her old department and, therefore, a blindspot for her.

I think Dr. Enfield could really benefit from someone, a critical friend, who would help her see the dysfunctional culture elements in her old department. Her perspective is still from the inside.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm kinda pleased to see that no one has come right out and called me crazy.

Or it could be that the beautiful weather has influenced us all.

Charlie Mas said...

@Curious
At a discussion of the new evaluations, Director DeBell said something about completing a process or going full cycle or some similar euphemism. The meaning was "I'll believe it when I see you fire a principal and not before."

Charlie Mas said...

When you look at the staffing in the Central office, you'll often hear that the positions are grant-funded or paid for through Title I or Title II or something like that. The implication is that the District is really paying for them, someone else is.

This is, of course, bullshit.

It is rare that any grant specifically requires the District to hire central administration staff. The TIF grant is a notable exception. Title I and Title II certainly don't require central staff. If the money weren't spent on the central staff it could be spent in the schools - even the grant money and the Title I money.

If Dr. Enfield is talking to Tom Strikitus I hope it is to give him a list of courses that the UW college of education should offer teachers for continuing education.

Mark T. Weber said...

I am glad to see that the culture of the district is finally being discussed.

David said...

Just want to say thanks, Charlie, for doing those meetings with Dr. Enfield and Pegi McEvoy. Very pleased to hear about what you covered in those meetings and that you believe they are listening.

Anonymous said...

@Charlie
"To what extent is the clusterf**k in Special Education a cultural issue and to what extent is it an academic issue? I think it's academics, and therefore solidly in her blindspot."

With a close mutual admiration society going on between the former CAO and the current Executive Director of Special Education there will have to be some personnel changes on a large scale before we see reasonable management and any basic accountability in Teaching and Learning for Special Education.

Sorry to say it.

Anonymous said...

Charlie said:
Every so often someone suggests that I take the job of superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. It's a bad idea. I lack the skill set and experience for the job. Not only don't I have executive experience, I don't even have management experience. Others suggest that since I'm not qualified to do the job then I'm not qualified to critique the performance of those who do..etc.


I agree with all those people, Charlie. Perhaps it's time for you get out there and make a change instead of using this blog as your own personal editorial forum. You post a question for discussion, then proceed to write paragraph after paragraph after paragraph of your own opinion. It doesn't stop there either, it continues into the comments sections. I don't even bother to read posts written by you anymore because of this. It's too bad because you do have a lot a factual information that is beneficial to read if one can find it among the criticizm.

O.C.

SeattleSped said...

Charlie,

The "new" model is the same ole sh*t. They just changed the wording because "self-contained" and "ICS" are yucky.

Frankly, they're doing less with the $ame amount of people. The best-practice inclusion programs are still there with expert staff, they're just dying a slow death thanks to MGJ's and the current administration.

Marni Campbell is a waste of air and space. She can smile and appear to be sincere, but then shine you on like that! Ignorant of special education, dishonest, leadership vacuum, need I say more?

KG said...

Charlie,

I believe that Central administration is not cut back to the 5.98% Mr.Boesche says, as they are hiding these positions in other line items and changing the titles. There is no way it is at 5.98%.

KG said...

Charlie,

My wife attnde a meeting with Enfield and she was told that other districts may shift administration to other line items just to make it look smaller. Just because we are told to jump off the bridge should we do it? That is apparently the central view on it.

Jan said...

Charlie: don't know what O.C. sat on today to make him/her such a misanthrope -- but I say "write on." I read this blog for the discussions and opinions of you, Melissa, and others. I read in hopes that critical pushback will come, from time to time, from Rosie, Peon, and others. I read for Sahila's links (many of which I have found hugely provocative.

I guess I kind of thought a blog was SUPPOSED to be a sort of "personal editorial forum" at times, for the blog's authors (along with being an alternative news source, at times, a center for discussion/debate at times, etc.)

I really liked this post -- particularly as it clarifies for me some of my own muddled thinking around where I think Dr. Enfield is doing well, and where she seems to be lagging (in all the "teaching and learning areas -- curriculum, special ed, Spectrum/Advanced Learning, etc.).

StopTFA said...

Unfortunately, Enfield is on the TFA bandwagon despite: waste of Title II grant funds on PD for short-timers; waste of mentor teachers' time on short-timers; shortages of Math PD slots for real teachers while spending $$$ on short-timers; and deliberate violation of the equity provision in NCLB that says high poverty/high minority schools shall not have disproportionately higher rates of inexperienced, out-of-field teachers.

For that alone, she should be fired. Oh, and Stritikus too.

RosieReader said...

StopTFA -- are you really just a single issue person? Or are you being rhetorical?

Charlie Mas said...

Here's a less sympathetic interpretation of the interim superintendent's actions in the first 100 days.

Let's say that rather than trying to change the District's dysfunctional culture with its myopic focus on the internal political struggles among the warring states within the JSCEE, Dr. Enfield's wholesale slaughter of other central office department heads represents ultimate victory in that Machiavellian game.

When she ascended to the role of interim superintendent it meant the ascendency of her fief (teaching and learning) over all of the other fiefdoms within the District. Like any other feudal warlord she consolidated her power by using her new global authority to take the heads of her rivals.

That's why the heads of the most politically active departments were the first to fall.

That's why we see wholesale changes in the other departments and the strict preservation (other than promotion and the addition of staff) in Teaching and Learning.

Both narratives fit the facts. Actually, the less sympathetic, more cynical interpretation fits the facts a little better because it does a better job of explaining the lack of reforms within Teaching and Learning.

Melissa Westbrook said...

O.C., you don't know Charlie very well. He has been "out there" for years. Just because you don't go to all same meetings he does (and why not, if you think it important to be "out there").

Also, just to be honest, this blog is mostly the reporting and editorializing of Charlie and myself. No one ever said it wasn't.

dan dempsey said...

Dear Patrick,

You asked: "Aren't most administrators at-will employees?"

In most districts the school principals are at-will employees BUT NOT in the SPS, unless things changed a lot under the most recent contract.

I was told that under the old Principals Contract that there was a termination process based on a "Principal's Performance as a principal". However once a defective principal was moved downtown to the JSCEE they became un-fire-able ..... because termination needed to be based on performance as a principal.

I have no idea what the current principals contract says. I am sure we would have found out had Martin Floe taken an appeal of his firing into the legal system.

I do know that Michael DeBell was very unhappy with some of the provisions in the old principals contract and rightly so.

dan dempsey said...

I do like Peggy McEvoy and can attest to the fact she was not part of the "incompetent" in crowd at JSCEE.

I think of the "JSCEE" as similar to grades 7-12 where the popular kids have a major sway in what happens .... Thank God => Peggy McEvoy was not one of MGJ's popular kids.

=========
I have no idea how well qualified Ms. McEvoy is for her current position but the fact she is Spot-On Honest makes her an incredible improvement over the recent past.

I wish her the best.

dan dempsey said...

"Is Susan Enfield doing a great job?"

Betty Patu was the only Director to vote against making Enfield Assistant Super. Betty's argument was that the District needed a clean break from the MGJ past.

Charlie points out that in many areas Enfield's leadership broke with the past .... BUT in the department Enfield led as CAO .... it is just more of the same.

She and Sundquist spoke with the Seattle Time's shortly after her appointment ..... and it was all the same "BS" regurgitated about math and other academic areas.

Under Enfield the pushing of the School Reform Agenda in Seattle remains unchanged .... and that is a BIG BIG problem.

Chris S. said...

Charlie, I do disagree with OC. I always read what you write, because you express the situation and your opinions so clearly. Clarity of thought and communication is your talent, and we sure need that around here at this point. I would like to leverage that talent - and maybe there could be a future district in which Charlie could contribute. I think he'd be a great board member (hardass communicator) but I've been told Patu will be on the board "forever." Move, Charlie.

I have criticized Enfield on occasion, but reading the board's self-evaluation and your post, I think Enfield deserves a lot of the credit they are giving themselves, especially if were are talking about the last 3 months.

Chris S. said...

The real question for me is did Enfield completely cave to The Alliance, or did she just say enough of the right things to get them off her back. I can't really get a read on this for her actions - clues point both ways. Perhaps the best sign is the Times is not yet in fawning mode.

dan dempsey said...

The take on Enfield and the NTN contract....

Both Action Reports came from MGJ with lead person being Susan Enfield. Both action Reports were incredibly inaccurate.

Each time when it came to a vote 4 directors voted in favor of the $800,000 contract ... as usual the four were Carr, Sundquist, Maier,and Martin-Morris.

These four frequently deliver "Bogus" justifications for their votes, while ignoring mountains of evidence.

You will find most of the NTN Evidence Mountain HERE.

anonymous said...

Marni Campbell was absolutely useless as principal of Hale. Nice as she could be, but useless. She did nothing except smile and pat students and teachers on the back. All day long. She got absolutely NOTHING accomplished.

Thank goodness Ms. Campbell left Hale and turned it's leadership over to Dr. Hudson, who is doing a fantastic job.

StopTFA said...

Rosie,

I was harkening back to Charlie's (opinionated) string some weeks back. I'm actually active on many diverse issues. Nevertheless, I feel that for SPS to push for this useless, unproven, wasteful, faddish initiative at this time IS fatal. It's like Marie Antoinette. RBHS? Let them eat cake and TFA, or choke on it.

WenD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WenD said...

@ Charlie:
"If Dr. Enfield is talking to Tom Strikitus I hope it is to give him a list of courses that the UW college of education should offer teachers for continuing education."

Charlie, I'm sorry, but you're on a bowler's high. Of course she has blindspots where they concern shepherding in TFA and everything that comes with it. She'll finish what MGJ started. What she can't or won't finish just might be done under a different mayor. I think Mel's take on Burgess wanting that seat is highly likely.

I enjoy everything you write and only wish you were more crispy with the cronies so you'd take another stab at elected office.

wsnorth said...

She's the closest thing we've had to a "real" superintendent since Stanford!

Two cheers, at least.

Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore said...

The interim Chief Operating Officer that was the former Director of Security does not appear a shining star to most in the know. Tens of thousands of dollars (minimum) in tech equipment have been 'lost' over last couple of years and nothing has been done to stop this or prevent it from continuing.

A principal that serves for three years as a principal is given tenure, at least had been per state law.

Josh Hayes said...

dan writes:

"However once a defective principal was moved downtown to the JSCEE they became un-fire-able ..... because termination needed to be based on performance as a principal."

I'm confused. If you move a principal "downtown", are they still a principal? Or are they given some other job title? Why would they still be covered under the principal's union if they're not doing the principal's job even on paper?

In other words, isn't moving to the JSCEE a promotion into the administration? Those positions all seem to be at-will. I just don't understand how one can be a principal without portfolio.

dan dempsey said...

Josh,

I am equally amazed. I brought this up with Michael DeBell at one of his Saturday morning meetings. There were specific criteria that principals had to meet. Once they became a principal ... it was damn near impossible to get rid of them when they became principals without a school .... kind of like a teacher on special assignment. They were still principals but could not be dismissed because to be dismissed they would have to be negligent by failing to do specific things in the principals contract.

Catch 22.... obviously favored principals.

Salander said...

Morning mail- love the new acronym-
Dear colleagues:
As we come to the end of the 2010-11 school year, I want to thank each of you for your commitment to ensuring our students receive the very best education we can provide. This is our most important work.
Despite the many challenges we have faced as a district this year, our focus has remained on our students. Last week I had the great pleasure of attending many of our high school graduation ceremonies. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. As I told our graduates, this is the day that each of us in Seattle Public Schools works for – seeing them graduate from our system ready for college, career and life. Regardless of our role or where we work in the district, we all have a hand in ensuring our students reach this day. I thank you for that.
Since being appointed Interim Superintendent in March, I have had the opportunity to meet with and hear from many of you during school visits, department walk-throughs at the John Stanford Center, office hours, “Soup with the Supe” and emails. What I have learned has contributed to many of the changes we have made. We are leaner, having reduced central administration to 6 percent of the overall budget, while at the same time, evaluating how the central office can better support our schools.
We have much to be proud of here in Seattle Public Schools, but we also have significant work to do. We all agree that we must set high expectations for our students and in doing so eliminate our achievement gaps. Recognizing this, in the coming months we will be launching a district-wide focus called AGREE: Attacking Gaps/Raising Expectations Everywhere.
Over the next few months we will be identifying what is working in our schools, engaging families in identifying barriers to student success and also working with our families and the broader community to create solutions for student success.
As I have said, I feel so privileged to serve as your Interim Superintendent and work alongside you on behalf of our students. Seattle is a remarkable community, and working together we will make Seattle Public Schools the point of pride for our great city.
I hope that each of you gets some well-deserved time away this summer. Thank you for all you have done this year and I look forward to continuing our work together in the 2011-12 school year.
Sincerely,

Susan

Anonymous said...

Salander to post Dr.Enfeld's farewell letter after listening to her and McGinn squirm and dodge for an hour and half last night at South Shore leaves me even more weakened.

She is lame! Oh, my how! I dare say, the weakest and most clueless Sup we've ever had.

Even after a year or so as CAO and her disasterous 3 months as Sup, behold, her glorious illusion of her accomplishments and how everybody is on board with her and we're all one big happy family and blah! Blah! Blah!

And another unbelieveable behold: Look at the credit she takes for grads when everyone that made it did so with any assistance from her nor any from the board.

LaCrese

Anonymous said...

"Ask how it's going?" That would mean communicating directly with the teachers. Enfield told the teachers that she would be setting up a forum for teachers to give feedback and be part of the process. This unfortunately was months ago and nothing has happened. It's like running a hospital and not asking the staff how effective they are or for feedback. Look at some hospital models, they are incredible high on quality control because they give their staff some opportunities to make appropriate changes as they see fit given their daily experience. It's a shame that teachers are still not treated as professionals in this district or state or country.

Signed,
Saddened teacher

Anonymous said...

Last stmt should read: WITHOUT -- Grads made it WITHOUT any assistance from her and with none from the board.

While she's road the backs of teachers and principals ever since she arrived, how dare her take credit!

Am I missing something here, but it appears that everything revolves around me! me! me!

LaCreseGreen@cs.com

Anonymous said...

The special education situation was better under MGJ. At least, there was somebody looking over the shoulder of the former CAO and the Executive Director of Special Education. Whereas, in the last three months the special education department has done things like posting a memo on its web pages about new service delivery options at a couple of schools . . . without notifying IEP teams. Parents stumbled across the memo while looking for something else, then, the Executive Director for Special Education said it had been sent to all the concerned families (400) but no single familiy could be found who had received it.

Concerned

RBHS PTSA Secretary said...

NO! She is looking and acting more and more like the Good doctor. We at Rainier Beach have been meeting, making plans for months but to date no long term plan has been communicated. No Principal has been named. 90% of the teaching staff will be gone and not returning to the school for whatever reason. She's given A LOT of lip service. Not to mention the only board member who was not in favor of the appointment was the one from our district Betty Patu. Dr. Enfield is telling Board members what they can and can't do....aren't they her boss.
Furthermore all this outreach she has been doing looks good but what I hear from the majority of the folks who've attended the coffee chats is.....crickets chirping. That's NOISE with no substance, no answers, no time lines, a lot of "I will look into this or that", "I am not aware of this or that". We've heard it all before its time for some action.

Rainier Beach has a Design team that has been working tirelessly to develop the school so when I heard (during last nights town hall at South Shore) Dr, Enfield the key is more Community, family engagement I though I was going to vomit! What in blank does she think we've been doing. Oh and the A.G.R.E.E. (Attacking Gaps Reaching Everyone Everywhere) program/policy/initiative or what ever it is she spoke about that is to roll out starting in the fall sounds a lot like....No Child left behind crap.
Originally I stated to a reported that I was cautiously optimistic about the appointment of Dr. Enfield now I am convinced she will be more of the same.

Mark T. Weber said...

In Dr. Enfields defense I must say this. To expected instantous results, for things to turn around over night and for her not to make some mistakes simply isn't realistic. It's a big job with many people and groups pushing and pulling her in every direction.

To be fair, this is going on in an election cycle, she has no idea who she will be dealing with after the election and changing an entrenched system is difficult.

I think after the new board is in place, you have to give them and her a year to get their feet on the ground, make some mistakes, hopefully correct them and make judgement as to their and her performance.

Brian said...

Roger Ebert did work in the industry he critiques. He wrote the screenplays of several films, including Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and one of its sequels, Beyond the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens.

So there.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I think after the new board is in place, you have to give them and her a year to get their feet on the ground, make some mistakes, hopefully correct them and make judgement as to their and her performance."

Really and what are the children of Seattle Schools doing while we wait?

Nope, it doesn't work that way.

No one is expecting instant results and no one is asking for that.

In Jan of 2012, the new Board (brand spanking new) will have to determine whether to renew her contract (which ends almost exactly a year from now) or to start a search. So she has about 6 months to show some solid leadership and a firm foundation of accountability and transparency or else the new Board will launch a search. Or maybe they just feel it would be in the public interest to see who else is out there.

Now she can apply just like any other candidate so it doesn't mean she's out.

It might help to know the parameters around which the new Board and the interim Superintendent are working.

Mark T. Weber said...

@Melissa,
How long has she had the job? Three, four months. You said,
“I would find allies - wherever they appeared in the org chart - and put them in charge (at least for the interim). Where that wasn't possible I would bring in experienced, expert people from the outside for interim roles. I would look to hire some new brooms for the long-term.

So isn't this what Dr. Enfield has done? Could you look at her first 100 days and see a clear (and probably intentional) effort to change the culture of the District?

The Director of HR Chief Talent Officer is gone. Fast.

Dr. Enfield cleaned house in Facilities. The new guys use data and analysis as the basis for their advice - and they play it straight. They have no loyalties or alliances to any of the established factions within the District.

Do-nothing Cordell Carter is now officially doing nothing. Failed principals hidden in administration have been pushed out into schools where, if they fail again, they can be fired. The revolving door at Communications has turned again.

She elevated Pegi McEvoy to interim head of Operations. This move really only makes sense through the lens of finding someone on the inside who didn't play the internal politics game. I got the vibe that Ms McEvoy was not a party to the dysfunction. She seems too naive candid for that. Seriously, she was genuinely astonished to hear that the District hasn't kept its promises to students and families. It was inconceivable to her. That schoolgirl innocence couldn't be fake.

Dr. Enfield brought in Bob Boesché as interim CFO. This guy doesn't appear to be infected with the bureaucracy disease and he knows that he's a temp, so he has no motivation to build a fief.

I think she has been making things pretty uncomfortable for that bumbling crew of idiots in IT as well. Seriously, Jim Ratchford had better watch his ass. He needs to smile less and work more. He has already become more candid in his reports to the Board about the VAX.”

I personally think it’s a start. Has she made some mistakes? No doubt. Will she make more? No doubt. Formative assessment is a good thing. It allows you to make needed corrections. I think considering she is operating within a dysfunctional system, is a lame-duck Superintendent and there are so many “fires” going on within the district, she’s done about as well as can reasonably be expected.

I’m waiting to pass judgment. In January, we’ll know if she is the Superintendent to lead us into the 21st century or not. But I’m withholding judgment until then.

Charlie Mas said...

Um, actually Mr. Weber, I wrote that stuff, not Melissa. You can usually tell the difference between us - Melissa is a journalist; I'm an activist. She reports news and facts; I spew conjecture and opinion. She researches actual truth; I invent plausible narratives.

Mark T. Weber said...

Charlie,
First, you can call me Mark. It's like the old joke, when someone says Mr. Weber I look around for my father.

My apology to you and Ms. Westbrook. I didn't realize she reprted actually fact and you spewed conjecture. My bad.

Anonymous said...

One thing I noticed looking at the latest Org chart, are there any non-white managers left at JSCEE? Looks like backlash from Pottergate or just back to the glory years of institutional subtle racism. Enfield is toast unless she shows a more inclusive face.

Lisa M. said...

No, she's not doing a good job, plain and simple.

Concerned about SPS said...

@SeattleSped

Marni Campbell applied for a director position and the sup. is considering here.