Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Who’s on First in Seattle Schools

 Superintendent Brent Jones is certainly getting busy in a big way. From SPS Communications, an announcement of the newly-formed Office of Strategy Deployment and Responsiveness (SDR). This office will report directly to Deputy Superintendent Rob Gannon.

The Office of Strategy Deployment and Responsiveness will work to bring strategic alignment and coherence to district initiatives in support of student outcomes.

Providing cross-departmental and district-wide project management and coordination including timelines, deliverables, reporting channels, and ownership.

Monitoring deployment of strategies and providing system accountability to students, families, schools, and staff.

Developing and supporting a clear escalation path and resolution structure for key issues and decisions.

Ensuring alignment and a consistent, coordinated cadence of internal and external communications; and

Supporting district-wide knowledge management.

The first task of the new office is to support a successful Fall 2021.

I’ll venture that they have folded Public Affairs/Communication into this office but also coordination of various initiatives. The announcement is quite the word salad so I can only guess. I think this kind of wording has a two-fold use to the district . One is to sound full of purpose and action. Two is to avoid using regular wording that would allow parents - the consumers of this purpose and action - to understand what the district will be doing in the coming year. 

I find the leadership of this new office bewildering because there are two people who will head it and one of them is one of the worst Executive Directors of Schools (and that position may have a new name as well). 

Carri Campbell, former head of Communications, will now be Assistant Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Sarah Pritchett will also be an Assistant Deputy Superintendent. I don’t know who will do what between the two. 

The announcement touts Pritchett’s leadership but in more than a decade of watching her work, from afar and up-close, I have never heard one parent at any school say that she came into a situation at their school and helped mediate it to a conclusion. I was at one meeting and was astonished at how little she helped a tense situation. 

And naturally, I would assume with a new title comes a bump in salary. 

If you are keeping track, I believe that means SPS has one Deputy Superintendent (Rob Gannon), one Associate Superintendent (Concie Pedroza), two Assistant Deputy Superintendents (Carri Campbell and Sarah Pritchett). It will be interesting to see a final org chart. SPS used to have associate superintendents but that gave way to “chiefs” and now has come full circle.

Pedroza will oversee the merger of the divisions of Schools and Continuous Improvement and Student Support Services.


Anonymous said...

I cannot help it but agree with you about Pritchett.
What a bad bad move.


Increasing Administration said...

"Developing and supporting a clear escalation path and resolution structure for key issues and decisions.

Ensuring alignment and a consistent, coordinated cadence of internal and external communications"

It certainly appears the district is expecting a situation to escalate. Enhanced internal and external messaging might be used to silence some individuals and/ or families.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Increasing Adm, could you expand on your thought? I see the control part but why silencing?

Yes, the longer the Broadview-Thomson encampment issue goes on, the worse the district - and Superintendent Jones and President Hampson - will look.