Friday, July 11, 2014

Seattle Schools Superintendent Update

Dear Seattle Public Schools community,

I am writing to update you on the Superintendent process. 

As you are aware, Superintendent Jose Banda is the finalist for Superintendent at Sacramento City Unified School District. The Sacramento Board of Education plans to vote on his contract the evening of July 17. If approved, the Seattle School Board will hold a special meeting within the next few weeks to vote on an interim Superintendent, who will continue the good work Superintendent Banda has led for the past two years. 

The School Board has been meeting in executive session during the past several weeks to determine next steps. We know that choosing both an interim and permanent Superintendent is of utmost importance, and we take this decision very seriously. 

I want to assure our staff, families and community that there will be as little disruption as possible to the current progress of our district.  We will recruit a strong interim leader who will continue to implement our new five-year Strategic Plan on behalf of our nearly 52,000 students.  
I want to thank the staff for working diligently over the summer on our buildings, our technology and on student curriculum to ensure we are ready for the start of school on Sept. 3.  

Finally, an enormous thank you to Superintendent Banda for his work here in Seattle.  He led us through the development of our Strategic Plan, a successful BEX capital levy, complex boundary changes, the planning and start of many new capital projects and the reformation of a strong executive team.  We wish him well as he looks to his future in Sacramento.

Sharon Peaslee
Seattle School Board


Jon said...

I realize this is a political letter and that Sharon Peaslee has little choice but to praise the outgoing Jose Banda.

Even so, I must say I thoroughly disagree with the assessment of Jose Banda's tenure expressed in this letter. Banda, by his own description, spent the first year learning. In his second year, he was actively interviewing for a new position outside of Seattle. He accomplished almost nothing in his brief time here in Seattle, acting almost entirely as a figurehead rather than someone who ensures competence and efficiency from his organization.

I am deeply disappointed in Jose Banda. I hope we are not foolish enough to again pick someone from outside of Seattle to run Seattle Public Schools. We will just get another person with no allegiance to Seattle, no interest in helping Seattle schools, and no concern for the education of Seattle's children.

Anonymous said...

Can we finally agree that great compensation doesn't buy a great superintendent, much less a good one? We paid more for Maria Goodloe-Johnson than Chris Gregoire ever made, and we're still cleaning up that mess. Please, ask Sherry Carr if Maria was worth it. She thought MGJ was just great. We upped the ante for Banda, because we have to pay top, TOP dollar, to attract the best. What, pray, did we get in return? At least the district is keeping the state auditor busy, right Sherry?


Melissa Westbrook said...

Westside, to be fair (and we should), Sherry Carr helped - hugely - clean up issues with the Auditor and the last audit report was very good.

That's said, no, I don't believe outside search firms are worth it.

Charlie Mas said...

Let's not forget that the outside search firm that Sacramento used, like the one we used, found Jose Banda.

Of course they had no trouble finding him, they were also working with him as his coach.

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, the more I think about that - the fact that it was the coach who recruited Mr. Banda for Sacramento, the coach that the District paid for - the more uncomfortable I get with it.

I has to be some sort of breach of professional conduct, doesn't it? Doesn't the coach owe Seattle Public Schools some duty of loyalty? It feels a bit like learning that your couple's counselor was the one who set your sweetie up with a date.

Lynn said...

mirmac posted the day the announcement was made that the Alliance paid did the coaching.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I still don't get the district (and Board) setting up time with Sacramento's Board members to talk about him. I've heard of professional courtesy but when someone is poaching your top executive?

mirmac1 said...

Yes Lynne, Sara Morris was right on top of it when Banda came to town, dangling the grant for "coaching" with funds yanked back because HR was "transforming" aggressively enough for their tastes. They expect a return on their investment of a few bucks from the billionaires and tax-break queen Boeing.

mirmac1 said...

Oops sorry...Lynn, no "e" : )

Just Saying said...


Will you please explain your statement:

"Of course they had no trouble finding him, they were also working with him as his coach."

Are you able to provide he name of Banda's coach?


Just Saying said...

Did the district or the Allliance pay for Banda's "coach"?

Charlie Mas said...

From Seattle Times article:

Banda "said the search firm hired by the Sacramento school district sought him out — not the other way around — about six weeks ago."

Sacramento hired Dr. Kent Bechler and Rich Thome of Leadership Associates.

Kent Bechler has been Mr. Banda's superintendent coach. He also facilitated the Board Retreat in September of 2013.

I couldn't tell you if Mr. Bechler was paid by the District, paid by the Alliance, paid by the District with money from the Alliance, or what. Either way, I think he owed the District a duty of loyalty and I think that duty of loyalty would easily extend to not headhunting here.

Just Saying said...

Thank you, Charlie.

Please consider writing a blog post on this issue.

I'm not sure who paid for Bechler, but there seems to be serious implications- either way.

We know that Seattle's business community and politicos like to control our district. I think we're seeing the tip of the ice cap, here.

Wasn't Banda to provide the district with 6 month notice before leaving?

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Just Saying said...

Bechler surfaces, again. I am confident the Alliance for Education is behind this.


Just Saying said...

Thanks for the link, Charlie. Here is the link between Alliance and Bechler:


mirmac1 said...

Bechler and Pivot Learning Partners. Yes, Alliance paid for our bloated Strategic Plan that is used to justify district staff's "priorities".

mirmac1 said...

Bechler and PLP were the consultants preparing Alliance's Strategic Plan for the district.

Charlie Mas said...

Regardless of who was paying Mr. Bechler's fee, I think he should have the professional ethics not to recruit the superintendent.

There is no question in my mind that the District should conduct an ethics investigation and debar Leadership Associates from future contracts with the District.

Anonymous said...