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Interim Dallas Superintendent Gets Ready For School

Bill Zeeble
Interim Dallas School Superintendent Michael Hinojosa shares some plans with reporters about the upcoming school year

The Dallas school district continues its superintendent search. Michael Hinojosa has been the interim superintendent since June. He stepped in after Mike Miles resigned. Hinojosa talked to reporters Wednesday about how he’s preparing for the upcoming school year.

With the start of school less than two weeks away, Hinojosa is working to heal some wounds. He says teachers are still upset by some policies Miles put in place. They don’t like teacher evaluations or the exodus of veteran educators.

“There’ve been issues regarding morale and issues that need to be addressed and actually some professional development that’s lacking in principals,” Hinojosa said. “So I’ll hope to help make that happen. But there are some issues that we’re going to have to address and that’ll fall directly on my leadership ability to do that.”

One concern’s been Dade Middle School, where a new principal has appeared every year for the past five.

“I’m very hopeful about what we can do at Dade this year," Hinojosa said. "I think we have the right leadership there and I need to pledge my personal support. At some point I want to go to the community and meet with those parents. I don’t want to be a distraction. So I need to let school get started."

After that, Hinojosa says he’ll meet with local leaders, like a church pastor, to help mend things. As for the rest of the district, he says most positions have been filled. Until recently, that wasn’t always the case.

“I’m not going to tell you we’re going to have zero vacancies, because I don’t know that’s feasible,” Hinojosa said. “But we are going to be very close to being fully staffed on the first day.  I would say we’ll have less than 50 positions that aren’t fully staffed on the first day. And so we’re very close to being fully on board.”

Hinojosa isn’t sure the district is very close to finding a permanent superintendent. He expects the board will pick a search firm next month.

“They still have to develop a profile and get input before they advertise," Hinojosa said. "It’s not feasible for there to be new superintendent until sometime in the spring, if at all.”

Hinojosa, who served Dallas ISD from 2005 to 2011, says he’ll stay as long as the school board wants him. 

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.