Jun 27, 2023 - Education

Former DISD leader scrutinized as he takes over in Houston

A man in a suit at a podium, surrounded by other men in suits.

Former Dallas superintendent Mike Miles at a press conference in 2014. Photo: Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Former Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles' approach to education leadership is under scrutiny again as he takes on a similar role in Houston.

Driving the news: Miles was recently appointed Houston ISD's superintendent as part of the Texas Education Agency's takeover of the school district.

  • The agency will remain in control of HISD until no campus receives a D or F state rating for multiple years and the district's special education program is in compliance with state legal requirements, per a letter from the TEA.

The big picture: While Miles' management established the framework for some successes in Dallas, he faced several staffing controversies, and his tactics resulted in veteran teachers leaving the district. Ultimately, DISD didn't see significant academic gains, per the Texas Tribune.

What's happening: Within a week of being appointed, Miles announced a new program that will pay teachers more to work with students who are struggling academically — similar to his initial approach in Dallas.

Flashback: In his three-year tenure, which ended after failed contract negotiations, Miles completely revamped DISD's teacher evaluation system, calculating teacher pay based on classroom performance, test results and student feedback instead of experience and college degrees. He reportedly plans to implement a similar system in Houston.

  • Miles' chief of staff in Dallas resigned and later pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks in a prior job.

What they're saying: "Miles' approach created a ton of controversy in Dallas ISD, and it did lead to an increased rate of teacher turnover relative to the rest of the state," David DeMatthews, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin who has followed Miles' career, told the Tribune.

  • "Hopefully, he learned his lesson in Dallas."

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