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  • Defining Excellence

    Posted by Mike Miles at 4/17/2014
    Teacher Excellence Initiative Teachers have lasting impact on the lives of their students. All of us remember the interactions, both positive and negative, that we had with our own teachers, memories that shape our perspectives on what makes a “good” teacher. Defining what a “good” teacher looks like has been the centerpiece of Dallas ISD’s efforts over the last three years to develop a new teacher evaluation system.

    The challenge is that our own experiences with teachers do not necessarily reflect what the education profession has begun to understand and know about effective instruction. Next month, we will bring to the Board of Trustees the proposed Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI) for approval. Built on the recommendations of extensive research into measuring teacher effectiveness, TEI establishes a standard for effective teaching in Dallas ISD. By clearly defining our expectations for teaching in Dallas ISD, we will be raising the standard for the quality of instruction occurring in our classrooms and providing a system by which we can provide differentiated and targeted professional development, as well as compensation commensurate with impact. This type of support and compensation is impossible in the absence of a clear and rigorous standard and system to measure it.

    While no system will ever be able to completely capture everything a teacher does to support his or her students and help them succeed on their academic journey, TEI represents a well-reasoned, thoughtful approach to measuring the impact that teachers have on their students. Our goal is that with TEI, we will be able to grow and develop our teachers into the premier teaching force in the country.
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Superintendent Mike Miles

Serving as the Superintendent of Schools for the Dallas Independent School District is a tremendous honor for me. Nearly 20,000 hard-working employees are focused on helping all students become ready for both college and the workplace. Over the last couple of years, the District has made several positive strides and I am dedicated to working with our trustees, staff, faculty, parents, community and students to continue to make progress.

Last year, Dallas ISD embarked on a path toward Destination 2020. Please take some time to read the plan as it outlines the District’s college and career-readiness goals that we will achieve by supporting effective teachers and principals in every school.

My commitment to public education is the result of the transformative impact it had on my life. Teachers can change lives and what they do will have a lasting impact. As an elementary school student, two dedicated teachers worked with me to overcome my speech impediment. They helped instill in me hope, confidence and commitment that, with education and hard work, I could accomplish anything. For me, the son of an African-American father who was deployed multiple times to Korea and Vietnam and a Japanese mother with limited English skills, those two teachers and the many who followed them put me on a significantly different life trajectory.

Parents, community members, and support staff also make a difference. During my years as an educator, I have come to appreciate the significant and irreplaceable role that support staff and administrators play as well as the collective impact that community members and families have on the success of a student.

As a result of my education and with the encouragement from my mother who made me complete my homework at the kitchen table every day, I have been fortunate to continue my education at some of the nation’s best schools, serve our country both stateside and abroad, and pursue opportunities beyond my imagination. As Superintendent of Dallas ISD, I work every day with our Board members, staff, faculty, parents, and community to make sure that every student in Dallas receives a high quality education that empowers them to have similar opportunities and experiences.

We have many challenges ahead of us, but in the last year, as a team, we have been able to:
  • restructure our School Leadership division to provide more coaching for principals
  • establish a culture of feedback in the classroom 
  • create a School Leaders Academy to help develop new campus instructional leaders
  • put in place a new principal evaluation system
  • began developing systems to support our students earning career-ready certificates
  • launched an initiative, Imagine 2020, to provide additional resources to schools, piloting it in the Lincoln, James Madison and L.G. Pinkston feeder patterns
Working as a team, I am confident that we will provide the educational experiences that prepares our students for success in college and the workplace.

Mike Miles

 

Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles About Mike Miles

After graduating from West Point with a degree in engineering, Mr. Miles entered the ranks of the Army officer corps at Ft. Lewis, Washington and became part of the elite Ranger Battalion and commanded an Infantry Rifle Company. Following the Army, Mr. Miles studied at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Leningrad in Russia, earning a degree in Slavic languages. Mr. Miles then completed his Master’s degree in Soviet affairs and public policy at Columbia University after winning a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities and a National Science Foundation Graduate Scholarship.

Upon graduation from Columbia, Mr. Miles joined the U.S. State Department and worked as an analyst at the Soviet Desk. In this role, he made policy recommendations and wrote talking points for the Secretary of State regarding German reunification, chemical weapons, NATO and other issues.

Mr. Miles then became a Foreign Service Officer representing the United States overseas. As a diplomat in Warsaw, Poland, he was responsible for tracking Poland’s evolving relations with Russia and the countries of Eastern Europe, specifically analyzing the strength of the Communist Party in Poland and correctly predicting its return to political power in 1993.

A tour at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow followed, where Mr. Miles served as Special Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to Russia. Mr. Miles helped coordinate the Embassy’s response to critical events during a time when Russia’s relations with the U.S. were as yet undefined. Mr. Miles received the State Department’s Meritorious Service Medal in 1994 as a result of his diplomatic service in Russia.

Ready to continue his commitment to public service stateside, Mr. Miles decided to become an educator, influenced by the difference teachers had made in his own life. Mr. Miles began as a high-school teacher at his alma mater in Fountain, Colorado where he taught high school math, social studies, and economics. Next, Mr. Miles became a middle school principal, followed by a stint as assistant superintendent.

In 2006, Mr. Miles took over as Superintendent of Harrison District 2 in Colorado Springs, one of the most ethnically diverse and economically disadvantaged districts in Colorado. During his tenure, the District raised student achievement by elevating academic standards, aligning the curriculum and focusing on principal leadership and teachers’ quality of instruction. Mr. Miles began his tenure as Dallas ISD’s 25th Superintendent of Schools on July 1, 2012.

Upon assuming leadership of the district, Superintendent Miles led the development of Destination 2020, a comprehensive plan designed to raise student achievement so that Dallas ISD students are prepared for college and careers. The plan, now in implementation, emphasizes four fundamental tenets: Focusing on the Classroom, Investing in People, Strengthening our Systems, and Engaging the Community. Dallas ISD has seen early indicators of success from this work, including a narrowing of the achievement gap, above average gains in several areas tested on the STARR and End of Course state exams, and one of the highest percentages of schools meeting the new state standard among urban districts in Texas.
 
Mr. Miles and his wife Karen have two children in college and another in middle school.
 

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