Amanda Guerra, NBC 5 News
The Dallas Independent School District trustees named Mike Miles the lone finalist to become the next superintendent of the troubled school district.
The Dallas Independent School District selected a lone finalist in its search for a new superintendent on Monday.
The district named Mike Miles, 55, as its final candidate, but must now wait a state-mandated 21 days before the board can elect to hire him. The DISD board's vote to hire Miles will be held on April 26. If approved, Miles will begin his new job on July 2.
"The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees is thrilled with our selection of Mike Miles as the lone finalist for superintendent of schools," Lew Blackburn, board president, said in a DISD news release Monday. "Mr. Miles has spent his entire life serving the public and has a proven track record of success. Not only will his life story serve as an inspiration to our students, he is a recognized leader who is focused on student results. Today is a great day for the Dallas Independent School District."
Miles said he thinks DISD is a good district but said there is a lot to do before it is great.
"I think you've been working hard on perform elements," he said. "I think you've been working hard over the past decade -- you can tell in your achievement results. There's more work to be done, though."
Miles said his first step would be to listen and learn.
"You can't change anything significantly until you hear from the staff, from the community," he said. "I'll have lots of time to meet with the community, stakeholders, parents. I'm serious about students. Got to be in the classroom. Got to see what's going on in the school, so I'll be doing a lot of listening over the next two to three months."
Since 2006, Miles has served as superintendent for Harrison School District 2 in Colorado Springs, where he has enjoyed increased graduation rates and improved achievement, according to the DISD. HSD2 has a student population of 10,000 that attend 26 campuses. An HSD2 district-run study shows it has high employee morale despite having recently faced millions in budget cuts, much like the DISD.
Miles is now moving into another financially challenged district -- only this one is the 14th-largest district in the nation with 20,000 employees and 157,000 students at 230 campuses.
"It's a challenge just in general these days to make sure that kids get the best education possible," Miles said. "Many of our kids are challenged by poverty, many of our kids don't speak English as their first language. Many of our kids have other troubled backgrounds -- that's a challenge in and of itself. And the job and the task is to meet those challenges, with a team, to provide our kids with the best education possible."
He is a former Army Ranger who graduated from West Point in 1978. After serving in the Army, he moved to Colorado Springs, where he started as high school teacher and worked his way up to superintendent. In 2011, Miles won a Civic Innovator of the Year Award.
"I entered this profession to help kids, and I'm going to do that to the best of my ability," he said. "That's why I take on the challenges I take. If you look at my history, I'm a public servant; that's what I do. Whether it's a soldier, whether it's a diplomat -- that's what I want to do. I want to help. I want to serve kids."
Miles and his wife, Karen, have three children.
NBC 5's Amanda Guerra, Shane Allen and Cynthia Garcia contributed to this report.