Monday, July 22, 2013

Seattle Schools Announces Big Leadership Changes/Shifts

From SPS(bold mine):

With an increasing number and complexity of Seattle Public Schools’ capital projects underway to accommodate enrollment growth, safety upgrades and technology infrastructure, Superintendent Jose Banda announced today that he is making organizational changes to provide additional leadership in the District's Capital, Facilities, Operations and Technology departments.

Voters approved a $694.9 million Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) capital levy, the largest and most comprehensive in Seattle Public School’s history, in February 2013. This, along with the current Building, Technology and Academics (BTA) capital levy, has significantly increased the scope of work in capital projects over the next six years. To ensure that the district is organized effectively to implement this work, the Superintendent asked for two independent reviews of the district’s organization related to capital projects and operations. The reviews were conducted by the national Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) and a group of content experts from the Puget Sound region.

One of the concerns raised by both capital review groups was the significant span of control assigned to the Assistant Superintendent of Operations. Both groups recommended appointing a new cabinet-level position to oversee capital and facilities programs. In response, the Superintendent has decided to create a new department of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning. The Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Pegi McEvoy, will now have a more reasonable breadth of responsibilities including Logistics, Transportation, Purchasing, Child Nutrition Services, Family Support Program, Coordinated School Health, School Climate Program, and Safety and Security.
“Seattle voters have entrusted us with their tax dollars and we are committed to ensuring that we have an organizational structure to support these capital projects,” Banda said. “That is why I am announcing a series of organization changes and an interim appointment that will provide immediate leadership while allowing time for a thoughtful national search process.”

Terry Burgess has been appointed Interim Assistant Superintendent of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning, effective July 23. In this role over the next several months, Burgess will oversee all capital projects and facilities areas including maintenance, custodial and related functions. He will also have responsibility for Enrollment Planning, which is a vital component of capital planning. Dr. Tracy Libros, Manager of Enrollment Planning, will now report to Burgess.

Burgess is President of Portolan Associates, an organization that provides business and operational consulting services to school districts and other organizations. He served as Interim Chief Operations Officer at Detroit Public Schools for several years, and was one of seven experts who participated in the CGCS independent review of SPS capital and operations functions. He will serve in the position until a permanent appointment is made.

In addition, in order to place an increased emphasis on greater integrated program planning and coordinated departmental systems, the district will seek a Director of Capital Projects and Planning, who will report to the permanent Assistant Superintendent of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning. When hired, that person will oversee the district’s entire capital planning and construction programs, including BEX IV and BTA III projects.

Lucy Morello, who has been serving as Director of Capital Projects and Planning, will continue with the District as a Senior Project Manager, allowing her to focus more directly on project-specific construction activities, a position that she previously held with the district.

“I want to recognize and thank both Pegi McEvoy and Lucy Morello for their dedication to Seattle Public Schools,” Banda said. “Pegi McEvoy has done an outstanding job during these past two years as Assistant Superintendent of Operations. Her appointment in 2011 provided needed stability and continuity at a time of major transition for the organization. Lucy Morello has years of experience managing complex construction projects, and her valuable experience will help ensure that projects continue to be delivered on time and within budget.”

The district anticipates filling both the Assistant Superintendent of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning and the Director of Capital Projects and Planning over the next several months. For now, Burgess will provide leadership in both roles.

Finally, the Department of Technology Services will continue to be led by Chief Information Officer, Susan Wright, but will now report to the Deputy Superintendent. Additionally, the hiring process is currently underway for a Deputy Superintendent to replace Bob Boesche, who has served in an interim capacity since March 2011 and is retiring. An announcement regarding his replacement is anticipated in early August.

Early analysis:
- I'm waiting for feedback on who was on the second review committee and whether any members of the BEX Oversight Committee were asked to be on it or give input to it.  (I more and more wonder if they are becoming irrelevant to the process.)

-While some might see the changes for McEvoy and Morello as somewhat of demotions, the Superintendent went out of his way to praise their work.  I think McEvoy's department was large and unwieldy and Morello seems better suited to be a project manager. 

But boy, two more high-level (and costly) roles for the top of the food chain.  And both will likely be paid out of capital funds (as have other capital roles) and that means fewer dollars for capital.  Still, if I thought we would get better buildings and oversight out of it, I'd be very happy.


Anonymous said...

Where are these two reviews? I'd like to see content, conclusions, recommendations, and, most importantly, the dates performed, areas examined, comparables used as benchmarks, and, who was on these review committees. How were they selected to be on these committees?

It is $700 million. This shakeup tells me this district isn't ready to deploy this money, otherwise, no such a whole scale changes would be required.

It is idiotic that they are putting a K8 for 650 kids at Pinehurst, and pushing Cedarpark into permanent use with eight portables. That's ridiculous. No doubt it is much too late to correct these issues now. No doubt planning is too far down the road, and they won't be Compelled nor have the wisdom to back up to the "last mile" of BEX 'planning' and reconsider the most sensible choices amongst their alternatives. BUT THEY SHOULD!!


Juana said...

I agree. When the district requests a big amount of taxpayers money, they should have already been ready manage it. So another administrative position will be created and pull money from where it was intended to be used?

mirmac1 said...

Despite the belated, hackneyed aspect of this after-the-fact re-org, I wholeheartedly agree that someone other than Pegi McEvoy must be accountable. I have observed that she simply parrots whatever those she curries favor with, want. Like a downtown school, for example.

The district fails to mention that the Vancouver ESD Construction Services Group also made recommendations. Oh, and the State Auditor also performed a years-long performance management review of the SPS Capital Project Office. Remember? It was during the time Fred Stephens and his successor Bill Martin came and went.

Interestingly, the two program management consultants have diametrically opposed views with respect to contracting. An inauspicious start.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Curious, I will get the reviews and post them. That no members of the second group are even named seems odd.

Dave doc said...

I don't understand this Pegi McEvoy fever. She is a nurse and how she got to where she is now tells you a lot about this disfunctional district.

Charlie Mas said...

Did I read this right? A person who was contracted by the District to give them advice, advised them to create a new, high-level job, and then took the job.

Does no one else see a conflict of interest there? If not an actual conflict, then at least enough of the appearance of one to merit a brief explanation.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm not understanding this "she's a nurse." Why is that a bad thing? Lots of people work their way up from another place.

Yes, Charlie, I found that issue troubling as well. Did the guy say, "Well, the answer to your problem is hiring me."

Anonymous said...

Charlie, it's "The Bobs" from Office Space, "consulting" their way into longer contracts, in-house positions, etc.

Again, again, again, and again, follow the money. CGCS, by the way, has a long reputation of being aligned with Big Ed Reform, so get ready, it may be "here we go again."


insanity said...

Is anyone writing to folks about this insane conflict of interest? Who should I write to?

Anonymous said...

I have worked in the district for years with an assortment of administrative clowns. From my experience, Pegi McEvoy is one of the more competent and level-headed folks around. I have known her to focus on students, and as whole people too.