Shirley Ison-Newsome, DISD's Teflon Administrator, Is On Her Way Out

Shirley Ison-Newsome is a survivor. The longtime DISD administrator, currently assistant superintendent, has managed to stay afloat at the district even as administration after boss after boss, administration after administration, have sunk to the watery depths. That she has managed emerge unharmed even as she has been caught up in any number of financial indiscretions, speaks to her agility as a bureaucrat and her political connections. So does the fact that Superintendent Mike Miles, tough-talking champion of reform at DISD, not only kept her on board but promoted her and gave her a $23,000 raise.

Something has now pierced the Kevlar. The Morning News reported Friday evening that, after 37 years with the district, Ison-Newsome is on her way out. Could it have something to do with the boys-only trip to see Red Tails? That unauthorized out-of-town bowling item? Miles implementing his tough talk on accountability? Or did Ison-Newsome just decide it was time to tiptoe into retirement?

It's probably not the latter. According to the Morning News Ison-Newsome told Miles on Friday that she planned to resign immediately. She then apparently had a change of heart and said she would set a date to retire. Miles wouldn't go into detail about her departure, other than to praise her long career and dedication to the district, but the circumstances indicate that Ison-Newsome's decision wasn't made without some degree of outside pressure.

Whatever the case, it's time for Ison-Newsome to go. Her tenure, marked at intervals by scandal, has epitomized one of the most vexing problems at DISD: that the system has become as much about adult politics as about kids' education.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson