Mike Miles, the dictatorial superintendent of Dallas ISD, may or may not have skated closer to the precipice of getting fired when he recently ignored the wishes of a majority of his elected school board and terminated three principals, including one who was extremely popular and worked very well with parents.
Although this incident may have been his cheekiest yet, this is not the first time Miles has shown disrespect for school trustees and the taxpayers who elected them. You may recall that last year he ordered DISD police to physically remove one trustee, Bernadette Nutall, from a campus in the district she was elected to represent.
This time, though, even The Dallas Morning News editorial board, a long-time Miles defender, sat up and took notice with a hand-wringing editorial that chastised the superintendent but stopped short of demanding his termination.
Dallas ISD faces challenges, and effective educators are ready to take the opportunity to turn them into successes. But Miles would rather bully than lead. His administration has been marked by top-down, ineffective policies and a highly paid management team that has created a hostile working environment for teachers and other school employees – and a hostile learning environment for students. All, of course, in the hijacked name of “reform.”
Teachers have been saddled with excessive paperwork and excessive meetings, and some have been chastised by administrators in front of their students during surprise classroom visits. Miles also has imposed an evaluation system that does not truly reflect the work that educators are doing.
NEA-Dallas, TSTA’s local affiliate, has long demanded Miles’ removal.
In his latest bit of arrogance, Miles fired the three principals who had the support of a board majority. One was Anna Brining, an elementary principal who had been personally praised by Board President Eric Cowan for her work and strong engagement with parents. Cowan’s daughter attended Brining’s school.
To make matters even worse, Miles continues to employ a DISD human resources manager who, according to an internal investigation reported by the Dallas News, has lied, bullied staffers and falsified records. And, you can bet the human resources manager is paid more than any of the ousted principals were.
The News, in its editorial, said Miles needs to “adjust his approach.”
It’s too late for that. The DISD board needs to show him the door.