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LDOE Shakeup: Brumley Arrives; TFA Leadership Hits the Exits

June 15, 2020

On June 08, 2020, Louisiana’s new state education superintendent, Cade Brumley, officially began his tenure.

Brumley was not the choice of ed-reformers favoring former state superintendent, John White.

Thus, it comes as a pleasant non-surprise that top hires from White’s administration are leaving the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). In his June 15, 2020, article, Advocate reporter Will Sentell discusses their exit:

The leadership of the state Department of Education is undergoing a major shakeup with the arrival of Cade Brumley as state superintendent of education.

Five key aides to former state Superintendent of Education John White are out or on their way out, including one who announced her plans Monday.

The list so far includes Jessica Baghian, one of White’s top lieutenants who served as assistant superintendent and chief academic policy officer. …

Other insiders leaving the department include Catherine Pozniak, assistant superintendent for fiscal operations and federal support. …

Hannah Dietsch, assistant superintendent and chief strategy officer, announced Monday that she is leaving effective July 10.

Diestch played a major role in the state’s move to having prospective teachers spend a year in the classroom with a mentor to better prepare them before they leave college.

Also leaving is department chief of staff Ariel Murphy Bedford and director of communications Sydni Dunn, whose last day is Friday after four years on the job. …

… [assistant superintendent for policy and governmental affairs] Erin Bendily [also] left the department [months ago] to launch another education venture.

A few comments on outgoing individuals:

Sentell does not mention that Bendily left LDOE in December 2019 to become executive director of Propel America, a nonprofit co-founded by John White in June 2018 and doing business with Louisiana while White was still state superintendent.

Too, concerning Hannah Diesch being credited with requiring traditionally-educated student teachers to have ane entire year of student teaching, the irony is rich since like John White, Hannah Dietsch’s only classroom experience was a three-year stint with teacher temp agency, Teach for America (TFA), which “trains” its recruits via a “summer institute” that does not even allow a recuit to be solely responsible for a single summer school classroom. Instead, several TFAers share classrooms with a handful of students and teach one hour per day. (In 2020, TFA recruits will have no experience leading even a shared classroom and will instead have only a summer’s worth of experience as online tutors.)

In fact, under former TFAer John White, LDOE leadership was notably top-heavy with former TFAers, including Baghian, Bedford, Dietsch, and Pozniak.

These five top Louisiana education officials have combined classroom experience of only 15 years– an average of only three years each.

And now, they’re going, going, gone.

Some of my colleagues remain uncertain about Brumley. However, I find it very encouraging that TFAers enjoying six-figure salaries are hitting the exits rather than work under Cade Brumley.

  • Baghian:  $166K
  • Bedford:  $110K
  • Dietsch:   $166K
  • Pozniak:  $150K

Of course, it is also possible that Brumley has communicated to these individuals that they would not be able to continue in these posts and with these salaries.

Brumley is not another John White.

In his June 15, 2020, article, Sentell also mentions a number of Brumley’s hires, including the superintendent of the district in which I teach (St. Tammany), Trey Folse.

Brumley’s leadership hires tend to have both classroom and administrative experience related to a traditional ed career path; they tend to have roots in Louisiana, and they include women and people of color.

Furthermore, even though some of his admin hires represent ed reform, Brumley favors individuals with grounding in traditional teacher/admin training. And, keep in mind that all who accept a position in Brumley’s LDOE must be willing to work under a state superintendent to whom John White’s TFA-heavy, ed-reform leadership is submitting their resignations.

I find all of this very encouraging, indeed.

cadebrumley2

Cade Brumley

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7 Comments
  1. Kathy Edmonston permalink

    me too!!!

    Rep. Kathy Edmonston

  2. DanG! permalink

    Is it too crass to say that Mr. Brumley is the kitchen light that sends the roaches scurrying? Good riddance to bad rubbish. Now if there was a way to fumigate the BESE board!

  3. Chris permalink

    Now I know where Trey Folse has been. The district’s response and preparation for 20/21 is a F-.

  4. Kay Dietz permalink

    What I want to know is how White got chosen in the first place with hardly any experience? This is so disgusting@ 😠 No conflicts of interest either huh. Shameful. Just shameful.

  5. Laura H.Chapman permalink

    So “high quality” in the lexicon of TFA means:
    “TFAers share classrooms with a handful of students and teach one hour per day.
    But,
    In 2020, TFA recruits will have no experience leading even a shared classroom and will instead have only a summer’s worth of experience as online tutors.”

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mercedes Schneider: As New Superintendent Takes Over, TFA Executives Head for the Exits | Diane Ravitch's blog

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