Smith-Blum New School Board President

: From: Office of Public Affairs
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 7:04 PM
Subject: School Board elects new officers

Seattle School Board elects new officers

The Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors on Wednesday night elected the following new officers for the 2013 calendar year:

Kay Smith-Blum – President

Betty Patu – Vice President

Sharon Peaslee– Member at Large

Smith-Blum was elected by a 4-3 vote, with Directors Betty Patu, Sharon Peaslee and Marty McLaren voting for her election and Directors Michael DeBell, Harium Martin-Morris and Sherry Carr voting against. Director Carr was also nominated as Board President but her election was defeated by a 4-3 vote, with Directors Patu, Peaslee, McLaren and Smith-Blum voting no.

Both Patu and Peaslee were elected to their positions unanimously.

As Board President, Smith-Blum will preside at all Board of Directors and Executive Committee meetings and sign all papers and documents as required by law or as authorized by the action of the Board. Smith-Blum will also serve as the Board spokesperson. In addition she will be responsible for appointing committee chairs, and those appointments will be announced in January.

“It’s my opinion that a leader of any organization is only as good as their ability to listen, and I intend to do a great deal of that in this coming year,” Smith-Blum said.

Patu, the newly-elected Vice President, will serve on the Executive Committee and preside at Board meetings in Smith-Blum’s absence.

As Member-at-Large, Peaslee shall serve on the Executive Committee with the President and Vice President and shall preside at Board meetings in the absence of the President and Vice President.

The officers are elected for one-year terms and serve as the Executive Committee of the Board. The Executive Committee provides:

■ Leadership for the Board in the areas of government relations with national, state and local agencies
■ Coordination of the Superintendent evaluation
■ Board training
■ Development of the Board’s annual work plans, agendas and schedules
■ A forum as the sounding board for the Superintendent and the executive management team

The new officers will assume their duties after the board meeting on Wednesday night.

More information on Board leadership, activities and upcoming events can be found online here<> or call the School Board Office at (206) 252-0040.


Anonymous said…
Oh good, now both Bands and Smith-Blum can spend a year listening and doing nothing, since neither of them seems to have any vision for what this district could be or how it can get there.
Our district is leaderless.
Sign me,
-Counting on someone, anyone, to step up.
Anonymous said…
No offense intended, but Betty Patu comes off as incredibly inarticulate and at time, well, dumb. Why did her colleagues give her a position of power?

Anonymous said…
Should say Banda.
Anonymous said…
Now that DeBell has been put out to pasture, Banda can grow a pair.

His working relationship with the new board leadership will be more collaborative and less secretive/coercive.

Patu tells it like it is. She's worth 10 Sherry Carrs any day.

More Power to the Moms!
Anonymous said…
I'm just going to come right out and say it - where is Banda? Short of sending out a few emails that look recycled from Enfield's sent folder, he has been absent. What is his plan? Who is he expecting to create one for him?
I think he is overwhelmed, and I know I am underwhelmed.
mirmac1 said…
Cue Varner "outrage and finger wagging" editorial in 3..2..1
Anonymous said…
Banda should have brought a pair to the interview instead of using Patu's.
He's earning more than she is.
Anonymous said…
I am not comparing Betty Patu to Sherry Carr. I am saying that Betty Patu is underwhelming to say the least. Late or doesn't show up to her own meetings, speaks inarticulately, has abstained from votes where she really should have just voted no, and seems to know nothing outside of her very small RB centric world. It is kind of embarrassing to watch her. To think that she could be the leader of the board this time next year is scary.

Anonymous said…
Unless her presidency coincides with a reality TV show on the dysfunction of our board and central office. Then it would be awesome.
suep. said…
Good lord, people, give the guy a chance. He's only been here less than six months. What do you want him to do -- wield an axe like Goodloe-Johnson and close schools only to have to undo that eight months later at a cost of $48 million?

(Actually, Goodloe-Johnson didn't do anything too visible her first year here (2007-08), but then, Broad- and Gates-funded ed reform-orama, and the rest is history.)

Or do you want him to come flying out the gate and randomly fire a popular principal like Interim Enfield did, only to have to retract that major gaffe after public outcry?

As for the new board officers, congrats to Smith-Blum and Patu.

DeBell's uncollegial reign is over, hurrah.
Anonymous said…
The more I watch, the more I realize how interpersonally divided the board is, and in some specific cases how weak their leadership skills are.

There appears to be actual animosity between DeBell and Smith-Blum. Carr and Martin-Morris don't appear to like Peaslee. And then there's Patu, who Carr, Martin-Morris and DeBell seem to barely tolerate. McLaren is out in the "wilderness of West Seattle" and in marching to her own drum doesn't appear to have much interaction with the rest.

Doesn't give me much hope in the board, frankly.

DeBell seems downright surly these days. Peaslee and Patu are often non-coherent in their board comments. Smith-Blum has an edgy know-it-all attitude that doesn't become her. Martin-Morris is more disengaged than ever - which is hard for him to do, in my observations.

Specifically it doesn't give me much hope that the thorny capacity and transportation problems can be solved, let alone more grand visions such as success of all students and inclusiveness of community.

Just saying said…
I don't know who Counting is, but obviously he/she doesn't know Smith-Blum. Smith-Blum is NOT one that lacks vision.

As for Banda, we're already seeing an individual that desires authentic community engagement. Smith-Blum has always been responsive to community needs.

Smith-Blum has the ability to maintain strong boundaries with outside groups. Certainly, this is a welcomed change.

Seems the desire for transparency went a long way in getting Smith-Blum elected as president.

Smith-Blum does not suffer fools and has little tolerance for fiscal irresponsibility or mismanagement.

I strongly suspect we'll be the usual suspects heading to the newspapers to intimidate, coerce and unfairly discredit Smith-Blum. This is a shame.

Anonymous said…
He's not a student teacher. He's been hired and is being paid to run a huge, struggling urban district. Instead of seeming to have an idea for what he needs out of each department's leadership, he seems to be shuffling existing people around, like some confused old man fussing with his sock drawer when the house is on fire.
I expect him to have some plan, some idea of how to implement it, and the ability to clean up the mess that is JSCEE.
When are going to start demanding that central office start doing its job?
Anonymous said…
Part Two: Selfishly, I really don't see the north end enrollment mess getting fixed given board dynamics and staff/board also seeming to have tensions. Staff is out making decisions and the Board is out making different promises in some cases that I have witnessed. Peaslee, Carr and Martin-Morris, whose districts come together in the North End "cluster" (double entendre included) don't work together. FACMAC input seems a farce at this point - its meetings no longer referred to by board or staff.

I watched the whole Business Reformers vs. Community lineup in the last election and silently predicted exactly what I'm seeing. Board members and their backers still bitterly locked in a philosophical tug of war while the basics of day to day operations of the district continue to crumble. I don't blame Banda. He's too new. But I am both fed up and troubled by the board and their backer personalities that get in the way of practicalities.

I say board backers because their personalities seem part of the problem too. This is a specific shout out to the Reformer Crowd behind DeBell and Carr and Martin-Morris. Wayyyyy to much about their own egos and their causes/grants. Wayyyy too little about helping the district to run.

Meantime my students and neighbors are drowning in district doo-doo. Not a pleasant picture.

suep. said…
I have also heard that Banda has been reaching out to communities, some of which have been ignored by past supts, and forging relationships and trust with our various district groups, which sounds like sensible actions to take when you are new to a town.

And he has said that he plans to address the weak math curriculum in the district.

When selected, he indicated that he didn't plan to initiate a whole lot of new churn for the district straight off the bat. He knew we'd all been through enough of that these past four years. Good for him.

How do you know, Counting, all that he is and isn't doing?

Yes, there are changes and appointments that need to be made and addressed, and soon. But I'm willing to give him a chance.

I find it odd that a number of commenters here are lamenting a supposed lack of leadership in the district on a thread that announced that Smith-Blum has replaced DeBell as board president. -- Is that who you really looked to for leadership?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
HR- a complete wasteland, led by a man who should find another job. And not in another sps department.C&I- orbiting somewhere out there like space junk.Advanced learning- being run by teachers and parents.Special Ed- being run by teachers and parents.Ed directors- accountable to no one, for nothing.You don't have to be around very long to have a basic to- list. He can collect all the community input he wants, but when he heads back to the office, no one is going to be equipped to do anything.
suep. said…
Mm, sounds like he inherited a mess, doesn't it. Any suggestions for replacement staffers?
Dora said…
Hmmm. Seems like "Anonymous" should rename themselves "Sore Loser".

My impression of Banda is that he is wisely taking in all that he can in terms of Seattle, its culture, its communities and its students.

It's a wise and prudent approach that will put him in good stead in the months and hopefully the years to come.

Anonymous said…
Suep., no ideas. You'd think the board, especially those directors who have been around awhile, would put their differences aside and have some suggestions that are good for students and families. It makes me sad and frustrated that they exhibit no urgency in making JSCEE functional.
Anonymous said…
Does, sore loser for what? I'm sore because my students, my neighbors, and my community pay the price for our district's lack of organization, leadership, and plan.
I've seen KSB micro-manage, obstruct and divide. I haven't seen her lead and I haven't heard from her a reasonable plan for getting things on the right path.
Anonymous said…
Like Betty Patu tremendously. Thank god she doesn't articulate a lot of MBA edu jargon. Her community understands her. Parents understand her. Kids get her. She's effective where she needs to be. I'll take her as she is, less glam, but a lot of smart moxie.

happy constituent
David said…
I see this as a very positive development. I'm a little surprised to see negative comments here.

This looks to me like the newly elected board members taking power from the older ones. DeBell and Martin-Morris, for example, oversaw and approved of Goodloe-Johnson hiring and unsuccessful policies, the absurdly foolish school closings that are a major factor in our current capacity issues, and the accounting and personnel issues that lead to the financial scandals.

Isn't this a good thing that Kay Smith-Blum and other more recently elected board members are taking more control?
Ed said…
I agree with "Counting" on Banda. He is way over his head and dazzled by Holly Miller and the cabals downtown and has already been coopted by the "politboro" at JSCEE.

The cronies getting paid in Ed, Director and HR positions are worse than "vacant" positions.

Again, somebody needs to "step up" and Banda has shown he's not up to it..........yet.

Maybe KSB can help him.
I think I may have mentioned (but not written a thread) that at the Board retreat they did announce hiring a consultant to help the Super and Board form their Strategic Plan.

Also, I think Banda is a go slow guy. That our district has many problems that need to be addressed cannot be doubted but we had a go-fast superintendent last time. I'd rather have a careful person myself.

"I've seen KSB micro-manage, obstruct and divide."

Could you give specific examples?

I'm with David; a little surprised at this reaction especially given DeBell's actions over the last year.

I support President Smith-Blum and I am more than willing to give her a chance. And I am glad that the majority of the Board (who do have a majority) are willing to put their votes out there.
mirmac1 said…
I, for one, am glad KSB is not a card-carrying member of the "ladies who lunch" crowd, who view themselves as some of the cleverest women in Seattle when it comes to our kids' education. KSB has kept a professional distance from those who would ensnare her in their backroom deals and media-gossip.

Frankly, where Banda was channeling DeBell or fear the paternalistic smackdown/media smear/career undermine, I hope he can now feel he can be his true self (and I trust his sincerity and caring for struggling students and families) and can feel secure in collaborating fully with the board.
Just saying said…
I think Banda is a sincere guy. He is taking time and efforts to build trust within the John Stanford Center and community. This will pay off dividends. Get a leader that people will like..and staff will bend over backwards to help him.

I understand Countings anger over HR etc. However, I trust Smith-Blum's intolerance for mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility will be an asset.
mirmac1 said…
And if the new minority on the board want to take their toys and go home, then screw 'em. I think the ladies who are large and in charge will be MORE inclusive and less sneaky, than the old guard.
Anonymous said…
I read this blog alot but do not understand all the relationships between all of the players like many of you do. However, I feel that the board changes provide a real opening, a real chance for Banda to actually do his job with less interference and noise from the ed reform crowd. Should he choose to accept the chance (and I think he will soon), he will have board leadership that is much more aligned with his ways of thinking and working (community engagement orientation) than before.

--Rome wasn't built in a day
Someone said…
I can't help but see this as a positive move for SPS. I too think Mr. Banda stepped in to a minefield and is prudently mapping the explosion sites before dismantling them. While we'd all like to see "action" - the damage of poorly planned, irresponsible action have already been more than abundantly demonstrated.

I have in the past, written to several School Board members - KSB is the only one who actually responded in a thoughtful manner - and who regularily sends out email updates to those who have contacted her in past.

Time will tell if this change helps or hinders - I'm sure Mr. Debell will have a lovely career in politics elsewhere down the road - he lost my trust this year when his manipulative behavior came to light.
Anonymous said…
Well said someone. Same w/ me. KSB isn't even my rep and she is one of the few board members (Peaslee and McLaren being the other two) who have replied when I've contacted them about various things. (DeBell will reply whenn it's school specific but not otherwise)

I think that's an excellent exec. comm lineup. Congrats to the directors on their new positions!

-sps mom
Anonymous said…
I don't want a board that group thinks on everything. Look what the Gang-Of-Four brought us. They were absolutely confident, unified, and completely wrong on vote after vote.

That Board was HORRIBLE! So this board, disagrees? Thank God!

Anonymous said…
I am also glad to know that KSB is not part of the "ladies (gals) who lunch" crowd, an enlightening link provided in Mirmac's post.

However, maybe they should be called the "ladies who drink" crowd. I, for one (admittedly old-fashioned), don't think our paid employees (the now gone Enfield and Lora but still current Ed Director Dusseault) should be out drinking and talking district business at the same time. This also occurred during the TFA negotiations, where allusions to wine and drinking were prevalent in emails. Both the "ladies who lunch" emails and TFA emails are replete the same kind of banter that you might hear from college students who are planning their next bar excursion. The "ladies who drink" guests put way too much emphasis on the next wine bottle for my taste. That they involve the former superintendent and her deputies is very disturbing. These are public servants who should have a higher and different standard of behavior than a business person using these methods to network or make a deal.

Sure, there are always going to be some community "events" where alcohol is involved, but these emails continue to highlight exclusive dinners and meetings for drinks that both cause and add to the boundary and ethical issues that have plagued this district for so long.

Glad the Post Menopausal Posse seems to be more aware of basic propriety (and demonstrate more maturity in general). Thanks for continuing to shine light on these shadows, Mirmac.

--enough already
Charlie Mas said…
Like many of us, I am a product of Western culture, and Western culture has its roots in Greek culture. The Greeks had an epistimology, logos, that equated clear speaking with clear thinking. From them I have inherited a bias that leads me to find the eloquent more credible.

Director Patu, like many of us, is not a product of Western culture. She is from another culture with another epistemology that does not equate clear speach with clear thinking.

When I listen to Director Patu speak I sometimes have to actively remind myself not to allow my cultural bias to discount what she says because she doesn't express it fluidly, precisely, or cleverly.
Linh-Co said…
Even so, Director Patu has a better BS sensor than most and more common sense than some of the directors that shall not be named.
KG said…
Banda is being lied to just like the Board by upper level administrators regarding the budget just like they have to the past 3 or 4.
Anonymous said…
Amen to that Linh-Co, and she's way smarter than the others too. The one who can't put 2 words together and say anything that gives evidence of thinking is Harium Martin-Morris. It doesn't seem to bother the electorate.

mirmac1 said…
On the subject of prevaricating staffers, I wonder how a certain General Counsel and Asst Supt of Finance are going to blow smoke up this executive committee's ass. They no longer have to sit by DeBell and smirk as he offers condescending put-downs.

Chris S. said…
There is no one on the board I'd rather have heading it. Congrats to Kay. I also agree that Betty's lack of golden-tongue does not hamper her. We have had too much of golden-tongue-ness. I'll also bet Kay is too much of a class act to wreak the revenge on Debell that he deserves. I'll just have to imagine that.
Anonymous said…
"Director Patu, like many of us, is not a product of Western culture. She is from another culture with another epistemology that does not equate clear speach with clear thinking."

Whoa, Nellie. This comment is highly disturbing on many levels. Arrogance dressed up in Philosophy 101 language brings to mind the Ann Richards comment--you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig.

--enough already
Anonymous said…
enough already, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Charlie LOVES using the word "epistimology", it really makes him seem smart. In this case, he also wants us to think he's generous because he can overlook someone who might not use language like "epistimology" and give them the benefit of the doubt. Patu is plenty articulate enough, and plenty articulate to get her point across.

Anonymous said…
My motto: action speaks.

happy constituent
mirmac1 said…
Jan said…
This path was set out the day we elected Sharon and Marty. I have no doubt that the ed reform club will be less happy with Kay -- and they may be whiny and negative about it -- because we have taken their "toy" (the District) away with them -- and told them they have to share. And Kay definitely has the spine to be the adult here. Just think back to when she challeneged the A4E on whether they could just bump their fee to the district (because they "wanted" to), without justifying it or taking into account the fact that the District was cutting everywhere else.

Kay (and Betty) need to know that parents will back them as they try to reorient decision-making into a community-oriented, rather than edreform-oriented, endeavor. Will this be smooth and pretty? Doubtful (spoiled children are NEVER easy to deal with -- especially at first, and ed reform has acted like a spoiled child for a long time). The fact that the ed reformers view themselves as the grownups in the room will only make it harder.

Clear, calm resolve to bring good governance and management to Seattle Schools is what is required, by the board AND those who wish the district well.
Jan said…
sorry -- I meant to say "away FROM them."
Just saying said…
Said of Banda:

"His working relationship with the new board leadership will be more collaborative and less secretive/coercive."

You bet! More power to the new guard!!
n said…
When a new philosophy is voted in, it doesn't interface with the old easily. Give them time. And support them. I'm pleased with the change in make up of the board and with the new leadership.

Enough already: both here and in the advanced learning thread you sounded very biased against smart people. You might think about that when you post put-downs like the one you gave Charlie.

My one wish? That Banda would decrease the size and cost of admin. It is way too bloated.

Patu cares about kids who rarely have advocacy. Eloquence often leads to pretty BS.
Anonymous said…
I guess it's just self hatred, N.

--enough already

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