Daniel P. King

“You have to honestly confront the problem. When I first got to [Pharr-San Juan-Alamo], no one had ever told the community just how bad the dropout problem was. I got blasted some for airing dirty laundry, but until everyone was honest about what was going on, we wouldn’t have been able to move forward.”
— Lisa Krantz for Education Week
— Lisa Krantz for Education Week
Focus of Strength:Dropout Reduction
District:Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, Texas

When Daniel P. King took the helm of the 32,000-student school district he leads in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley in 2007, its three high schools had just been singled out as “dropout factories” in a seminal national report.

Three school board members and the outgoing superintendent had recently been indicted in a federal bribery case for accepting cash and other gifts in exchange for awarding contracts. All four were later convicted; two board members served time in federal prison.

Gang-related tensions were running high in the district’s secondary schools, causing violent incidents to flare and attendance to plummet. And 23 high school science teachers had resigned because of a mismanaged school redesign process that had bungled the master schedule.

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