Dallas ISD Communications Chief Jennifer Sprague Isn’t ‘For Sure’ About Much at First Board Meeting

You’ve probably heard about the criticism new Dallas ISD superintendent Mike Miles received about some of his hiring choices. Possibly the most criticized was choosing the relatively inexperienced Jennifer Sprague to be the district’s communications chief at a salary of $185,000 a year.

Anyway, missed this Morning News post on Friday afternoon, because we here at D Magazine were all out celebrating International Biodiesel Day, but Tawnell Hobbs has a terrific blow-by-blow of Sprague’s first board meeting. She didn’t do herself any favors with her performance:

Trustee Nancy Bingham, who chairs the board’s personnel committee, announced an agenda item that consisted of a recommendation to accept a donation from the AT&T Performing Arts Center to partner with six DISD schools.

Trustee Bernadette Nutall wanted to know the names of the six benefiting schools. Bingham asked who would provide information on the initiative. Typically, by this point, the administrator over the department would be walking towards the horseshoe.

Miles gestured to someone in the audience, presumably Sprague, who left her seat in the audience and took a seat at the horseshoe, sometimes called “the hot seat,” because it’s where administrators can be grilled by an ever diligent cast of board members.

Sprague took a seat and wondered which donation the board was referring to. After trustees got her on track, she said, “I’m not for sure right now as far as exactly how those donations were disbursed,” and she deferred to a district administrator who happened to not be in the room.

Meanwhile, trustees had found on the agenda background document the names of the six schools, and they pointed it out to Sprague. The schools are Sunset, Molina, Carter, W.T. White, Wilson and Thomas Jefferson high schools — all have programs focusing on fine arts.

(Note to Sprague: Always, always, know which schools were chosen for an initiative and why. Trustees represent different areas in the district and most of them will look out for their areas. If they don’t, who will, or so it goes).


  • Edward

    And we are surprised why?

    This will be an ongoing issue that will probably get worse. It definitely won’t get any better. Miles should be embarrassed, but that is clearly NOT something part of his personality.

  • LakeWWWooder

    It’s “Woodrow” or “Woodrow Wilson”, never “Wilson” – John Anders once wrote a column the Dallas Morning News mentioning this shibboleth.

  • DDD

    I wish I earned $185,000 year.

  • Wylie H.

    I liked the fact that she was visibly chewing gum through the entire debacle.

  • Natalia R. Garcia

    An effective employee earning $ 185.000 a year for DISD must at all times be on her toes for any information asked by a board member, and if not her salary should be corrected.

  • Something wrong

    My guess, she was held back at kindergarten

    Those ones are always a little slow and never do catch up.

  • Daniel

    I’ll bet a dozen doughnuts she’s shagging old man Mike. It would be a good test of her mettle to ask her that question, as they say, point blank. Lull her into a false complacency with a string of softballs, and then just: Ms. Sprague. You haul some coin. Are you shtupping the Mikester?

    A $185K communications pro would unflappably wax unctuous, leaving no doubt, merely by her decorous demeanor, that the reporter is a low-rent toad. A flack worth less than half that would become flustered and indignant; would, in short, flail, falter, lose her composure. There really ain’t much in between. Guess which one I’m betting another dozen doughnuts on?

  • beccalyn

    Agreed Natalia. That’s the first thing I thought too.

  • JustWondering

    Sadly, you never get a a second chance at a public first impression.

  • Borborygmus

    I love DBJ. Todays Abstracts of Judgement in which DISD wins as plaintiff:

    $23,891 vs. 7656 Corp. dba Quality Quilters
    $23,652 vs Texas Amend Group Inc. fka The Amend Group
    $22,566 vs Manning Brothers Barnett Ltd. Inc. dba MS Summit

    I wonder how much of this is collectable? And the details of the Quilting gig.

  • ernest t bass

    Daniel, as suggested here previously, we need a booty shot of Ms. Sprague to clear this matter.

    Paging Jeanne Prejean!

  • Obviously the Dallas School District ISD needed a major change, which is why they hired the best out there! We need Mike Miles and Mrs. Sprague. All you haters, are just soooooooo jealous! Yeah, you wish you made as much as Mrs. Sprauge. How about get a job and find something to do with your life other then be jealous and post wrong comments about other people. Obviously you don’t have your information straight. How about you learn what is going on before your speak your mind. You sound ridiculous and uneducated.

  • Sandra

    If Mr. Miles walks into a classroom and observes a teacher as unprepared as Ms. Sprague was, that teacher will find herself without a job. Believe me, it happened a LOT in Harrison District. The stress and fear that Mr. Miles instills in teachers is huge. He would have you believe that he got rid of bad teachers, but many good teachers were also non-renewed just to meet his non-renewal quota. Other excellent teachers fled the district to teach in districts where teachers are treated as professionals, and experience is rewarded. I really feel sorry for the teachers in the DISD. Plan to spend 60 hours/week teaching and preparing your lessons. You never know when he or another district administrator will pop into your classroom to find fault with just about everything you are doing.