Tuesday, June 21, 2016

He's baa-aack! Mike Miles appointed to charter school board.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 1:22 PM

Mike Miles - FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Miles
Back in 2010, Mike Miles was the superintendent of the economically-challenged school district on the city's southeast side, Harrison District 2. If one thing could be said definitively about his leadership style, it was this: He tended to inspire strong feelings. Really strong feelings.

Miles saw himself as a reformer, and he was a favorite of the Gazette's news and editorial staff, which lavished praise on him. Many of the teachers and other staff in the district, however, were less thrilled. For a breakdown of the situation, check out this article I wrote at the time.

In 2012, Miles left Harrison to become the superintendent for the public school system in Dallas, Texas. In 2015, he resigned the position, with two years remaining on his contract. That may not have been surprising to many in Dallas, as Miles was, to say the least, a highly controversial figure. 

At the time of his departure, the Dallas Morning News wrote:

Miles’ entire tenure has been marked by controversy and ambitious initiatives. He designed and implemented new evaluations for teachers and principals, which he called the most rigorous in the country. Despite his reform efforts, student scores on state STAAR exams have stayed flat or decreased during his time.

But he continually clashed with employees and several school board members over his management style. He survived several attempts by a few board members to fire him. Most recently, he quarreled with some school board members over his decision to fire three principals despite the board’s vote to keep them.
After leaving Dallas, Miles came back to the Springs, where his wife and child were already living without him. He began work as an education consultant, and appears to be getting back into the swing of things. Recently, the Colorado League of Charter Schools appointed him to their board of directors. Here's what they have to say about the move:

DENVER – The Colorado League of Charter Schools has appointed Mike Miles to serve on its board of directors.

Miles is a leader in education reform and the former superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District and the Harrison School District in Colorado Springs. Miles returned to Colorado Springs last summer and started an educational consulting company, Third Future. He was recently tapped to lead the transformation of the Pikes Peak Prep charter school in Colorado Springs and is also starting a charter public school in Aurora, the Academy of Advanced Learning, which is set to open in the fall of 2017.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the Colorado League of Charter Schools to expand choice options for students and to improve educational outcomes for all students,” said Miles. “I hope my experience in school districts and the education reform space will allow me to contribute to the important discussions and reform efforts Colorado will have in the next several years.”

A graduate of West Point, Mike Miles has also served as an officer in the Army’s elite Ranger Battalion. He later served in the U.S. State Department as a Diplomat to Poland and Russia. Miles holds degrees from the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University.

“We are thrilled to have Mike Miles join the League’s board of directors,” said Nora E. Flood, President of the Colorado League of Charter Schools. “Mike’s commitment to ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality public school option directly aligns with our organization’s vision. His background and expertise will be an invaluable asset to our board.”

Other members of the League’s board include: Jay Cerny, Principal/CEO, Cherry Creek Academy; The Honorable Nancy Spence, Former Colorado State Senator; Sam Todd, Executive Director of Operations, Peak to Peak Charter School; Eric Duran, Managing Director and Public Finance Banker, D.A. Davidson & Co.; Andy Franko, iConnect Zone Superintendent, Falcon 49 School District; The Honorable Peter Groff, Former President, Colorado State Senate; Arkan Haile, Corporate Counsel, TransMontaigne; Erin Kane, Executive Director of Schools, American Academy; Carol Meininger, Chief Financial Officer, The Pinnacle Charter School; The Honorable Bob Schaffer, Principal, Liberty Common High School, and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives; Joyce Schuck, Co-Founder, Parents Challenge; and Todd Ziebarth, Sr. Vice President, State Advocacy and Support, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The Colorado League of Charter Schools is a non-profit, membership organization dedicated to supporting the charter public schools in the state. The League is committed to helping these schools reach higher levels of student performance and overall success by providing information and resources, including technical support, advocacy, and public relations assistance.

Charter schools are tuition-free, public schools that have the flexibility to be innovative, entrepreneurial, self-governing, and yet are held accountable for student and operational performance.

In the 2016-17 school year, there are 226 charter public schools in Colorado serving more than 108,000 students, representing over 12 percent of public school enrollment in the state. If Colorado charter public schools were combined into one school district, it would be the largest school district in the state.

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