New Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles is laying out his plan to improve schools, which includes slashing some of the top jobs in the district by next school year.
The stars have aligned to support reform at DISD, Miles said. The educator from Colorado said Tuesday that he intends to do transformative work at DISD, not incremental changes to the system.
"And I'm not sure the other superintendents had the same level of urgency from the community as I feel now from this community," he said.
Miles is the fourth DISD leader to promise reform in the past 12 years.
He said he is working on his Destination 2020 plan for the district to be presented to the school board in June.
He's already shaken up district headquarters at 3700 Ross Ave., with the elimination of 68 administrators to be replaced with 30 positions open to all applicants. Workers must re-interview for the jobs and will have to compete against candidates outside of the district.
Employees who are not hired will be out of a job on June 30.
"We're trying to find the right leadership, the right instructional leaders, to make sure that instruction is going to be the focus and that kids have effective instruction in every class room," Miles said.
The reorganization would improve communication between schools and headquarters, but teachers are waiting to see results, according the Rena Honea, president of Alliance AFT, a Dallas teachers group.
"Everyone is very cautious. They're optimistic, but they're cautious, because as you say, we've heard this many times before," Honea said.
Mayor Mike Rawlings praised Miles' plans.
"He puts the challenge out to be the best urban school district in the nation. There's no reason we shouldn't be that," he said.
Miles said an example of the community support for reform is the greater role Rawlings is taking in school matters compared to past mayors.
"I think it's about the community that has decided, we've got to have a great school district, and we're kind of mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore, if you will," Rawlings said.
Miles said he is prepared for the challenge he faces in Dallas.
"When we say we're going to do something in our action plan, we follow through," Miles said.
Miles is a graduate of West Point and Columbia University. He served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. State Department before becoming a teacher in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1995.
He eventually became superintendent of the Harrison School District No. 2 in Colorado Springs, the job he currently holds.
Miles is serving as a paid consultant to DISD before officially becoming superintendent July 2.