By Beverly A. Carroll
Dallas Independent Schools Deputy Superintendent Jim Scales said he wants to build on the Hamilton County Schools' successes and hear from educators, parents, students and community members about what not to do if he is named superintendent here.
"The first thing I would do is talk with stakeholders, community leaders, civic groups, business and political leaders," he said. "And I wouldn't leave out students, teachers and administrative staff to find out what they see are the basic needs and what we need to being doing and what are some things we need to discard."
Dr. Scales has been with the Dallas Independent Schools since 2001 when he left College Station Independent Schools in College Station, Texas, where he served as superintendent from 1994. He was the first black to serve as superintendent at the predominantly white school district of 7,500 students. He upgraded technology in the district, built two new schools, renovated other buildings and led the district to become a recognized Texas Education Agency school.
Dr. Scales said the investigation centered on an employee who no longer is with the approximately 160,000-student district. He said the employee was not in his department.
Dallas Independent Schools board member Jerome Garza said the district has been audited twice in connection with the E-Rate investigation.
"Both times, we've been clean," he said.
Mr. Garza said Dr. Scales would be the kind of manager who follows protocol.
"He does not believe in a parent going straight to the superintendent," he said. "But once it gets to his level, he is the kind of person who says, 'We are not going to leave until we work this out.' "
Aimee Bolender, president of the American Federation of Teachers in Dallas, said Dr. Scales has worked well with teachers. They use a bargaining process called consultation, and he was supportive of teachers' issues, she said.
"He has experience with collective and consulting bargaining, so he will bring a wealth of (employee relations) experience," Ms. Bolender said.
Dr. Scales served as superintendent for the Tulsa, Okla., Schools from 1990 to 1994.
He has been a finalist for the superintendent position at Arlington, Texas, schools, and twice at Little Rock, Ark., schools.
Dr. Scales said he would make a long-term commitment to Hamilton County Schools if selected.
He said he is aware of some conflict between the school board and the County Commission, and he would work to build relationships between the two panels.
"One of the keys is relationship building," he said. "I would want to work on a healing process to overcome what seem to be some sticking points of the (1997 county and city schools) merger."
Dr. Scales earned a bachelor's and master's degree from East Central Oklahoma University and a Ph.D. from the University of Tulsa. He worked as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal and interim superintendent for school systems in Oklahoma City from 1971 to 1984.
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