Far East Dallas Trustee Dan Micciche was the first big success story for Dallas Kids First. When he filed in 2012 to run against incumbent Bruce Parrott, the PAC and its sympathizers flooded his campaign coffers and showed up to block walk for him.
Six years later, Micciche is the only trustee the fractious board has been able to agree upon as president. He is revered by education reformers, though he doesn’t see himself as one of them; and he also has found favor with teacher associations, though they take issue with some of his stances.
They don’t like, for example, that his vote was one of seven that brought about the Teacher Excellence Initiative (TEI), a merit-based teacher pay system pushed by former Supt. Mike Miles and hailed by reformers. However, Micciche also has written several of the revisions to TEI, based on teacher input.
Last year he pushed for Dallas ISD to become a “District of Innovation” despite teacher associations’ concern that it would open the floodgates for uncertified teachers, and he supported changes to the district’s discipline policy that also was unpopular with some teachers. Both policies were backed by reformers.
He’s most proud of writing policies that don’t rock the boat politically but do make an impact on students, such as the policy to offer free breakfast in elementary and middle school classrooms, which was Micciche’s first big initiative as a board member, and the more recent policy to make social-emotional learning part of everyday curriculum.
Reform-minded PACs and teacher associations don’t often agree on endorsements, so the fact that they both endorsed Micciche before the 2015 election made him “the shining star,” according to a Dallas Morning News story.
His seat was open this election cycle, too, but Micciche’s ability to straddle the line and reject any labels likely is the reason no one filed to run against him.