Word got out that Michael Hinojosa was leaving the Dallas Independent School District 'round the exact same time Melody Johnson announced she was resigning as Fort Worth's superintendent. Which means both school districts have known for eight months that they need new leaders. But several fellow DISD parents have asked this morning: How is it Fort Worth's going to announce its sole finalist tonight at 5, while Dallas is only now wrapping its "public engagement meetings" and putting together a list of qualities it's looking for in a super super?
We were just here last week, when trustee Carla Ranger noted that the search process is "being dragged on too long." At which point a few Friends of Unfair Park chimed in with their own thoughts -- like, say, "grab the best rated principal in the DISD, put them in the job, and promise to fire them in 12-18 months if they are not doing the job" or "Keep Alan King and hire a Chief Academic Officer who knows curriculum" or, look, the longer we keep a super off the payroll the more money we save, so take as long as you need.
And in case you missed it, a week before Christmas, or right about the time the district started asking parents to fill out that online survey, I asked board president Lew Blackburn if DISD was taking too long. Because, sure, saving money's nice and all, but Dallas is far from the only urban district looking for a chief. To which he responded that he's "not concerned" at all because ...
"Most of, if not all of, the large school districts take six months before they name a superintendent," he said. "Fort Worth, they started the same time we did, maybe a month later. But they're in the same boat we're in in terms of a time line. They may be ahead of us because they've already started having meetings, and we'd hoped to start before Christmas. But if we rushed there's a good chance we would not be able to involve the community. The board could say, 'We're going to do this on our own,' and it could be a faster process, but I think it's more important we take our time and get our input from a broad spectrum of people in Dallas to make sure we get the best person. We have a greater propensity to get the best person."
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I see Tawnell's done a little digging through the archives and confirms: This search is taking longer than the last. And on a very related note: Former DISD super Mike Moses was among those consulting on the look-for to the west.