Seattle Schools; New Appointments Announced

 (I have very mixed feelings about these appointments.  Both men have good education skills. 

Mr. Wright is the more worrisome of the two.  He has close ties with the Gates Foundation. He got onto the board of the Alliance for Education just nine months after he moved to Seattle a couple of years back.  That's something of a record for the Alliance to put him on their Board.  His resume shows that he has been something of a job hopper and frankly, I doubt he'll stick around longer than a year or two.  He looks like a real data guy and, for our concerns about student privacy data, he may be a key player to convince in order to protect those privacy rights.

Mr. Herndon, like Superintendent Banda, comes from a small district where, according to the bio, they just passed their first (!) capital levy.  The enormity of the facilities and capital issues in SPS may look like a tidal wave to him.  On the other hand, he seems to support alternative schools and programs like STEM and Montessori.

It is unclear to me when they start but I will ask.)

Start of press release

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda on Monday announced the appointment of two veteran educators to fill key leadership positions at Seattle Public Schools: former Denver Public Schools Chief Strategy Officer Charles E. Wright, Jr. as Deputy Superintendent and Bremerton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lester “Flip” Herndon Jr. as Assistant Superintendent, Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning.

Both individuals emerged during the search process as excellent fits for the needs of Seattle Public Schools, Superintendent Banda said. The appointments were made following an extensive series of interviews that included senior leadership, cabinet members and representatives of employee associations.

“I am pleased that our search process resulted in identifying two high-caliber individuals who will join our leadership team,” Banda said. “Mr. Wright and Dr. Herndon both have depth and breadth in functional leadership in K-12. Their experience and skills will be utilized in virtually every aspect of our district.”
More about Charles E. Wright Jr.

Wright is a senior executive with 20 years of experience that includes working on behalf of large urban K-12 school districts as well as education foundations. For the past two and a half years, Wright has worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Initially, he was a Portfolio Manager responsible for managing a budget pipeline of more than 200 grants totaling more than $170 million. Wright also served as the lead Program Officer working with four school district pilot sites committed to aligning resources with strategic priorities.

Prior to his Foundation role, Wright served as Chief Strategy Officer for Denver Public Schools, a district with 78,000 students and 160 schools, where he managed five business units and focused on the use of metrics and data to guide decision-making.

“Mr. Wright has exceptionally strong skills with resource allocation that will help us with the very important work of aligning our budget to support the district’s new five-year strategic plan and delivering on our commitment to students,” Banda said. “He also has extensive experience with process improvement, performance management, and the use of metrics that will support our goal to create a central office that more effectively supports students and schools.”

Wright earned a Juris Doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, a Master of Arts in Elementary Education at Columbia University and a BA in Finance from Morehouse College. He is a graduate of Leadership Tomorrow, Seattle and Leadership Denver. Wright has served on the Executive Committee and Board of the Alliance for Education.

"I am excited to join the Seattle Public Schools and work with the many talented teachers, principals, staff and community members committed to ensuring educational excellence and equity for every student,” Wright said. “Together, our impact on behalf of all children can be tremendous.”

Wright will replace Robert Boesche, who has served as Interim Deputy Superintendent since 2011, and is retiring later this fall.

More about Dr. Lester “Flip” Herndon, Jr.

Herndon has more than 20 years’ experience in K-12 education. For the past four years, he has served as Superintendent for the Bremerton School District, a system with 5,000 students and 10 school sites. Accomplishments include establishing a PreK-8 STEM school with community partnership, developing a new Montessori program, building a new alternative program for students in grades 9 and 10 and creating online school options. Herndon led the passage of two levies, including Bremerton’s first capital levy. During his tenure, Bremerton was honored for an Innovative School and multiple Washington Achievement Award winning schools.

Prior to Bremerton, Herndon served as Assistant Superintendent of K-12 Support for Tacoma Public Schools. In this role he was responsible for supervision of eight directors, 100 building administrators, 60 school sites and 28,500 students.

“Dr. Herndon’s experience and skills leading a district and success in passing a recent capital levy will be an asset to our capital programs, facilities and the work on capacity management and growth boundaries,” Banda said. “I am especially pleased to have a leader in this role who has extensive experience in school buildings as a teacher, administrator and principal. Dr. Herndon’s understanding of the school environment will support a close relationship between capital programs and teaching and learning activities.”

The role of Assistant Superintendent, Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning was created through an organization restructure announced last month. Terry Burgess served as Interim Assistant Superintendent of Capital, Facilities and Enrollment Planning prior to Herndon’s appointment.

One of Herndon’s top priorities will be to begin the search for a Director of Capital Programs.

"I am both humbled and honored to have the opportunity to serve the Seattle community,” said Herndon, who has three children currently enrolled in Seattle Public Schools. “I look forward to addressing the many challenges associated with capacity management and enrollment planning as well as the numerous capital projects over the next several years and how they intersect and support our students and families."


mirmac1 said…
" our goal to create a central office that more effectively supports students and schools"

Despite what the stated goal is, larding up central office with more mini-Supes seems to be the end result.

It is sad when a high-end group of public employee has to keep scrambling to remain relevant to schools and learning.

Banda, sounds like this Charlie Wright will try to be the shadow Supe (much like the Alliance is the shadow School Board). You may as well phone it in.
wsmama3 said…
Can someone tell me who they are replacing? (!) I can't keep track of the revolving door. :)
WS Mama,

Wright is replacing Bob Boesche who was a long-term interim (and many wanted to stay on but they got him out of retirement).

Herndon's position is new - they split up Pegi McEvoy's deputy superintendent duties and Herndon takes capital, facilities and enrollment.

As Mirmac1 points out, we are getting more and more people at a high-level at headquarters.
Anonymous said…
Bob Boesche is utterly IRREPLACEABLE.

He is the real deal. Smart, effective, good-hearted and always a gentleman. The team around him, while earnest, just is not of his caliber. I wonder what he could have accomplished had he started with an organization that had a more productive, focused, effective culture and a Board as smart as him and staff as able to contribute as him. Mr. Banda, he really is in over his head, in all ways (education, fiscal, and operational needs and complexity of our growing District). With Bob going/gone, I truly am so, so sad. Makes me think there will be no point at all trying to help our District get better. May as well pee in the wind. At least with Bob there, I always felt like there was a court of last appeals, where gross misalignment or on-coming head-on collisions could be averted. Now, no more.

I suspect the new-new team will not be particularly interested in really making progress to remediate fundemental issues that prevent our District from being functional. Instead, they will focus on Common Core, and really miss the forest for the trees.

Sad. Makes me root for whoever will be Mayor to grab hold of schools. Can't be any worse, and, all the politics and in-fighting will distract the new-new team from doing damage. My new hope; rests on that adage, " first do no harm". If only.

Bob, thank you. You were too good for us, but all that you did, all that you tried to do, really mattered.

I read somewhere the evolution of the number of FTE who had a pay-scale of $100K or more over the last 8 years. It really has grown exponentially. (that's just in the glass palace). Scary.

-scared & scarred
Mom 2.0 said…
Is Herndon the permanent hire for the role Terry Burgess is currently filling?
Mom, yes, Herndon is the permanent person.

I asked it appears Wright will be working with Mr. Boesche until the fall. Mr. Herndon's work with Bremerton is on-going so it's a less clear when he will be fully on-board.

Scared and scarred, I would really like to talk with you - off the record. I think many echo your sentiments.
Anonymous said…
Any word on when the Advanced Learning (Bob Vaugh's old position) will be filled?

Eric B said…
I'm also curious about the Phil Brockman replacement--any word?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
No anonymous comments allowed; please give yourself a name in the future.

Who's paying for the new position?

Herndon’s new salary will be $176,446, plus benefits and a $450 per month car allowance. His salary in Bremerton has been $139,733.

Does that mean they spit up Pegi McEvoy's salary?
Anonymous said…
It looks like Banda is making a looooong term play.

He's relatively young, and he's trying to stiff us working stiffs with more kids per class because the people who send their kids to the Lakesides with small classes say class size doesn't matter. He's hired some professional edu-hack from BMGF, he's promoted MG-J's hatchet man Tolley.

I see a LEV-SFC-PFL-CRPE-A4E ... mini foundation for him, if he can't finagle some U.W. COE cushy spot if Stritkus is still taking up space. Just look

Anonymous said…
I'll bet data-dude's salary is being paid by BMGF, laundered through A4E. Banda's probably thinking "sweet! I can avoid more meetings, for freeee!"

Anonymous said…

Bob Vaughn's position has been listed again - it's open through tomorrow. Doesn't sound like the task forces will be starting anytime soon.

Ed said…
I see Sara Pritchett has moved into Phil Brockman's old office and left the title up.

That will be next for the scared little man behind the curtain.

He just thinks we are all stupid and the cut of his image (with "Strategies" trying to burnish it) will get us by.

Yes, "Scared and scarred" speaks for us too.
Charlie Mas said…
When Michael Tolley was made Education Director for the Southeast, he got a raise. We were told that the raise was because he was now in charge of more schools.

His pay was not trimmed when the Southeast region was assigned a second Education Director and the number of schools under his authority was cut.

Consequently, I would not expect Ms McEvoy to see a pay cut just because her responsibilities were decreased. Apparently that only works in one direction.
mirmac1 said…
Part of Tolley's salary (along with some other usual overpaid suspects: Sander, Beverly Davis, McFadden, Brockman etc) came from the High School Initiave Grant, something that was not ok by the Feds. The district got smacked by the SAO for this. hey gotta cover those raises somehow...
Anonymous said…
Flip Herndon was a principal in Shoreline. He did very little. I've heard similar statements from Bremerton. All flash, no major substance, always looking for a way to move up. Ironically, he was very good buddies with Rina Geoghan at Lowell/Lincoln.


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