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Originally published April 24, 2012 at 7:27 PM | Page modified April 25, 2012 at 2:58 PM

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Seattle Schools finalist's plan: Bring stability, avoid major changes

José L. Banda, the first of three finalists for Seattle Public Schools superintendent, said Tuesday his top priorities would be soliciting community input and bringing stability to the staff.

Seattle Times education reporter

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I don't think he said he wouldn't make change, I think he was saying he wouldn't come... MORE
BTW - I live and work in Anaheim and clearly in the last 4 years - this guy is not... MORE
I like Mr. Banda. He doesn't speak in educational jargon. He comes across as... MORE

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José Banda, one of three finalists for Seattle Public Schools superintendent, said during a brief news conference Tuesday that his top priorities would be soliciting community input and bringing stability to the staff.

Banda, currently the superintendent of the Anaheim (Calif.) City School District, said he would not craft a new strategic plan or make immediate changes in the central administration.

"I'm not the kind to come in with a set plan," he said.

But Banda, who has not dealt with the level of public scrutiny that exists in Seattle, offered few details and at times seemed uncomfortable during a trio of 20-minute sessions with reporters.

At one point, he emphasized the importance of technical education for students choosing not to go to college. But when a follow-up question mentioned that many here are trying to push more students to go to college, Banda said he agreed with that approach.

Banda expressed some support for standardized testing, using those scores as a component of teacher evaluations, and for Teach for America, an organization that recruits high-performing but inexperienced college graduates to be teachers.

But he said it's important to go slow and consider community input when making major changes.

Banda, 55, who comes from the smallest district of the finalists — an elementary-only, heavily Latino district of 20,000 students — also addressed questions about his experience. He said school administration is the same regardless of district size, and he framed his expertise with early education and working with students of color as advantages.

Fellow finalist Steven Enoch visited schools Tuesday and will meet with reporters Wednesday. Another finalist, Sandra Husk, will arrive Wednesday and meet reporters Thursday.

Whoever is selected will replace Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield, who will become Highline schools chief in July.

Brian M. Rosenthal: 206-464-3195

or brosenthal@seattletimes.com

On Twitter @brianmrosenthal.

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