Q&A with new Aurora Superintendent Michael Giles

Q&A with new Aurora Superintendent Michael Giles


A month after taking excessive management job in Aurora Public Faculties, Superintendent Michael Giles says he’s engaged on being seen in faculties and the neighborhood.

The Aurora district began lessons Tuesday, and Giles has been greeting college students and visiting school rooms. 

Giles, who has a three-year, $285,000-per-year contract, was most not too long ago the assistant superintendent of fairness, tradition, and neighborhood engagement for the neighboring Cherry Creek faculty district. He says he’s excited by fostering scholar and neighborhood engagement. 

He doesn’t but have solutions to the large questions going through the district together with the way forward for the earlier administration’s Blueprint plan to cope with altering enrollment patterns. Giles stated it was a considerate plan, however he’s evaluating if it nonetheless meets the neighborhood’s present wants. 

Within the first 90 days, Giles stated he’s hoping to collect data to tell his longer-term plans.

The next Q&A has been frivolously edited for readability and size.

Why did you get into training?

I really feel like I’ve been referred to as to work with the youth and I used to be doing it as a corrections counselor however it bought to the purpose the place I felt like my work wasn’t efficient in the way in which of prevention. It was extra so working with college students as soon as that they had already dedicated offenses and so they had been incarcerated and I wished to get out on the preventative facet. I felt the way in which I might try this was to enter instructional counseling. At one time, I believed that I wished to be a math trainer, years in the past, and that didn’t find yourself manifesting. However I suppose the training piece mixed with my counseling background sort of led me again into the training world. 

What made you wish to tackle this superintendent function?

Simply dwelling right here within the metropolis of Aurora for 25 years, I’ve been a member of this neighborhood for thus lengthy. I’ve participated in lots of management alternatives, a variety of native occasions and organizations and this simply looks like dwelling. I wasn’t essentially trying to turn into a superintendent though I used to be an assistant superintendent in my earlier district however when this one got here up proper right here, in what I think about to be my dwelling, it felt like an ideal match. 

Is there a specific achievement in that earlier function as fairness officer that you just realized one thing from and also you now assume you may apply to your work right here in Aurora?

I can identify many however there are two that come to thoughts: The involvement of scholar voice. I ran a number of scholar situation teams and had many various alternatives to interact with college students to establish what has their expertise with faculty been? And what do they should make it extra significant? We use that to assist create techniques and buildings for them to thrive. 

The opposite piece is involvement of neighborhood. Bringing neighborhood voice within the house to allow them to additionally discuss what their expertise with our district has been and what are the issues that they should really feel that they’ve some company within the studying of their youngsters and the youngsters locally. 

As superintendent, how do you see your function in fostering a productive relationship between your district and the neighborhood?

I’ve to get out and be seen. It begins with me. I lead that effort on behalf of the district so I’ve to be seen. I’ve to be intentional about creating alternatives to interact with the neighborhood to have the ability to obtain suggestions. But additionally to teach the neighborhood as a result of that goes each methods. As I mannequin it, because the superintendent, there’s an expectation that that very same sort of engagement goes by way of the management staff after which additionally at particular websites, that our constructing leaders are discovering artistic and intentional methods to interact the neighborhood. 

What do you see as the largest challenges going through the district proper now?

There’s so many. The primary one which pops in my thoughts is security. At all times involved in regards to the security of our youngsters. To ensure not solely that we have now structural and different measures in place for his or her security, however I need them to really feel protected once they come to highschool. I need them to really feel included within the faculty setting in order that they really feel obtainable to truly make the most of the tutorial alternatives and avail themselves to studying. 

One other is psychological and social emotional well being. And that’s not simply germane to Aurora Public Faculties, however I feel we’re seeing that throughout the nation. So how do we offer helps for our college students to navigate if they’re combating emotional issues or psychological well being points. What could be put in place to assist them with that? 

After which additionally simply the educating and studying. I received’t say it’s essentially a priority, however it’s an enormous focus of mine to indicate that we’re educating at a really excessive degree. We’ve got excessive expectations and we’re offering the best alternatives for our college students to study. 

One of many points between the district and the earlier superintendent appeared to be about trainer variety. Do you assume the district must take steps particularly to retain Black lecturers? Would that look totally different than a broader push for trainer variety?

I feel that a lot of our districts throughout the nation are going through the identical situation of hiring a various employees. I completely assume that’s one thing I wish to deal with right here in Aurora. I feel that my method is hiring for larger variety throughout the board and that features, it’s not restricted to, however it contains Black educators. Nevertheless it additionally contains educators of many various identities, many various races and so forth. 

Do you see any points which are particular to a kind of communities?

I feel I want extra time to evaluate and collect extra information. 

Aurora has one of many bigger percentages of scholars studying English as a second language. What’s your perception on what the district must be doing to make sure these college students are additionally getting training?

We do must be doing every part we will to make sure our college students are accessing the best studying alternatives. In my brief tenure, I might give myself a while to search out out what is happening proper now. What helps, what buildings do we have now in place and people which are serving our college students properly, we’ll proceed with, and if there’s alternatives to create different buildings or helps, then we’ll have a look at that as properly. 

Almost about accountability, the Aurora district has one of many excessive faculties that has been rated as low-performing for a few years. Have you ever spent a while there but, and what are your ideas on the course of that faculty?

I’ve not but had a chance to spend time within the faculty but, this being my fourth week. However what I can let you know, in speaking to my chief of employees and my management staff, I really feel like there’s some actually strong plans which are in place to raise the educational and the outcomes for college students at Aurora Central. And I’ll proceed to dig into that and supply as a lot help as I can to ensure that that occurs. 

The rest you need the neighborhood to find out about you and your priorities?

There’s nice expertise in our college district. We’ve got nice neighborhood partnerships that I wish to proceed to leverage and push upon to assist help and supply our college students significant studying alternatives. I’m extraordinarily enthusiastic about that and interesting our neighborhood to teach our college students after which additionally simply elevating our scholar voice in order that they’ve company in what their expertise appears to be like like and the way will we create significant alternatives for them.

Correction: This story has been up to date to mirror that Giles stated his precedence is being seen, to not be invisible.

Yesenia Robles is a reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado overlaying Okay-12 faculty districts and multilingual training. Contact Yesenia at yrobles@chalkbeat.org.


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