PA-PAC Questionnaire for Durham Public School
Board of Education 2014
Candidate Name:__Michael D Lee (Mike Lee)_________
Address: ___607 Fanning Way, Durham, NC 27704
1. Why do you want to serve on the Durham Public School Board of Education? What is the
role of a board member?
a. The next few years will be the most important we’ve seen for Durham Public
Schools in a generation. There are numerous issues looming over our district and we will need
a diverse set of ideas, backgrounds, and experiences to successfully navigate through this
fragile time. As a technology and business professional, I am a problem solver, an idea
generator, and constantly look for ways to improve even the smallest of problems. I would be
honored to serve Durham Public Schools to help ensure our talented students have the
opportunity to achieve the highest of success in life. Also, I have a direct, vested interest in the
success of Durham Public Schools by way of my 6 year-old son Nicholas (First grade at Sandy
Ridge Elementary) and 3 year-old twins Peyton and Cameron who will be attending Sandy
Ridge in about 2 years.
b. I believe the role of a school board member consists of being an advocate for
students, teachers, and parents in every decision and action supporting the mission of the
Durham Public Schools. Supporting the missing of DPS also includes creating, advising,
enforcing and monitoring policies set forth for the district. Each board member should constantly
solicit input from all members of the community to support the growth of DPS. The board
collectively is responsible for hiring and supporting the superintendent.
2. The board will be involved in the hiring of a new superintendent. What should the search
process look like? What qualities should the successful candidate possess?
a. Initially the board should work as long as it takes to develop a candidate profile
to outline exactly what we are looking for in the next superintendent. At this time, DPS is in good
hands with Mr. Osteen, so the board can takes its time making the right decision. It will be
important to make sure each candidate fits the predetermined qualifications for the job, and
Durham Public School’s unique environment. Once the board has determined the profile of the
candidate, an external professional search company should be interviewed and hired to look
nationwide for the best candidates (according to the board’s profile). Once three to five
candidates have been chosen, it will be important for the board to do a direct and in-depth
review of the candidate’s background, experiences, successes, failures and possibly even visit
the district in which they are working.
b. A successful candidate should at the very least have experience with the
diverse set challenges we face as a district. The candidate should arrive with ideas on how to
support and retain talented teachers in a tough budget environment, a vision on success of
lower performing schools and students, a plan to train teachers, students and parents on the
administration of common core standards. It is also important for the candidate to have a record
of making hard decisions and taking ownership of the results.
3. How should teachers and administrators be evaluated? Are the current state standards
a. Administrators and teachers should not be evaluated solely on test scores and
the average score of their schools. I believe each student is individual and evaluations should
be the growth of their students individually for teachers and collectively for administrators. This
means a baseline for each student should be taken at the beginning of the school year, and
compared to the same measurements a the end of the year to understand how that student has
grown. The teacher can be evaluated by the growth of her students and administrators can be
evaluated by the growth collectively of all students.
4. How should students be assessed? What role should standardized tests play in evaluating
a. I believe children learn and test differently. I do not agree with standardized
tests to solely provide evaluations of growth for students. I believe each student should have a
baseline evaluation at the beginning of the school year. At the end of the year, the same
measurements should be evaluated and compared to the baseline. This comparison should be
included with evaluations, along with the teachers personal assessment. These three evaluating
pillars (Tests, Baselines, Teacher Assessments) to determine the success of the student.
5. In spite of the introduction of magnet schools, it appears that Durham Public Schools have
become increasingly segregated by socioeconomic status and race. What are your
thoughts on this situation?
a. The segregation by socioeconomic status has grown at a rapid pace over the
last number of years, and is growing worse each year. I believe because of the influx of charter
school public funding and private school vouchers, a new set of options is being introduced to
parents and students of DPS. I agree with the theory behind charter schools; however the state
of North Carolina has relaxed the requirements for free and reduced lunch, after school
programs, and transportation which excludes many lower income families and students. This
exclusion immediately groups families that can’t afford to conform to the relaxed requirements
leading them to have higher numbers in traditional public schools. This increased percentage of
lower income students combined with the loss of higher involved parents will continue to grown
as more charter schools are introduced to the DPS system.
6. Does DPS need to make changes to its school suspension policy? If so, what changes
would you work for as a Board Member?
a.The Durham Board of Education has a very robust and detailed policy
regarding suspensions. Over the last twenty years it has been updated eight times to account
for the changing needs of DPS’s students. As a board member, I would like to add an
intermediary step to suspension to empower the involved student(s) avoid disciplinary actions. I
will propose if a student is involved in a lower level violation, time will be given to “cool off”. This
proposed time could be the rest of the school day, or a period of time in an office or in a neutral
environment. The student will be given all information regarding the policy, punishments, and
next steps. The following day the student and a parent will meet with the Principle, staff and
other persons involved. At that time, the student will be given the opportunity to reconcile with
the affected parties and the ability to avoid suspension. This option will only be available for two
occurrences. Upon the third incident, regular procedures will be activated. I believe this will
drastically reduce the number of disciplinary actions resulting in out of school suspensions.
7. What is your opinion about the Charter School movement?
a. I believe in the theory of charter schools an they have a place and purpose for
the students they serve, however I believe the state’s implementation of the regulates regarding
Charter Schools has been detrimental to traditional public schools. If a charter school received
district money for students, I feel they should have to adhere to the same standards and provide
the same services to their students, just as traditional public schools are required to provide. As
an example, I believe charter schools should adhere to the same class schedule, free and
reduced lunch, and transportation guidelines as other public schools. The absence of these
services has reduced the ability of many in our city from being able to apply to the lottery in
efforts to attend charter schools. My fear, with the influx of charter schools in Durham, is that it
will lead to an even more segregated school system and eventually will revert to the type of
differentiation Durham experienced with Durham City Schools and Durham County Schools
were separate entities.
8. What is your opinion about school vouchers?
a. I disagree with taxpayer money being given to families wishing to place their
students in Private school, when there are so many options in our great district. The choice to
attend a private school is personal, and funding should be the same.
9. As a board member how would you lead the decisions addressing the needs of the
students who are at risk for low achievement and dropping out?
a. I believe the world, as a whole, is changing and children are faced with many
more pressures, challenges and opportunities than ever before. Children have access to
technologies that were non-existent ten short years ago. I feel students have also have
expended the learning descriptions we expect as adults. For example, common thought was a
student either learned visually or auditory. I believe students use many different ways to learn
now including visual, auditory, computer based, web based, highly tailored curriculum and many
more. We, as a board, have to come up with fresh ideas to disseminate through the system to
meet students where they learn the best. If we want to reach lower achievement students and/or
prevent them from dropping out, we have to do something different than before. We have to
change our way of thinking, and I believe my background the experiences will lead me to help
provide these types of ideas.
10. Why do you think that parents choose to take their children out of the public schools in
Durham or don’t choose them at all? How would you address this issue?
a. Parents are responsible for doing what they feel is best for their students. As a
parent I think about this every day, which is why I believe traditional public schools are best for
my children. There is a large, varying list of reasons parents remove their students from Durham
Public Schools, however I’ve found a reoccurring theme to be safety and school success (as it
relates to test scores). With the influx of charter schools, parents feel they have an option to
have their students learn with like-minded children and more involved parents, which in turn will
improve their school’s scores. I believe this mindset to be a red herring since generally
speaking, the students who are successful in charter school where more likely to be successful
in a traditional public school as well.
b. I believe we, as a board, have to find a way to “compete” with charter, private,
and other types of schools to remove the negative labels from traditional public schools. We
have to introduce ideas, big and small, to draw confidence back into Durham parents. Every
idea, practice and thought has to be on the table. To start this type of “re-branding” we will need
to begin with retaining talented teachers and administrators. I believe there are things we can do
as a board (outside of pay) by way of “perks” to make working for Durham Public Schools more
11. If you could do three things to improve Durham Public Schools, what would they be?
a. Provide an abundant amount of options to help teachers continue their
education and training on all topics affecting their everyday work. This could be continuously
available and updated online classes, free training material, etc.
b. Partner with as many businesses as possible in the area to provide students
with the ability to gain credit by training in highly sought after careers with the possibly of moving
into those jobs after graduating high school.
c. Enforce a strict dress code or school uniform policy district wide from
Kindergarten to Eighth grade. This, in many cases, will relieve many of the socioeconomic
pressures students see each day at school.
12. Please describe your educational background, noting any degrees and honors you have
earned. (skip if resume included)
a.Please see attached resume.
13. Do you have children? Where do they or did they attend school?
a. Yes, I have three children. Nicholas is 6 years old and in the first grade at
Sandy Ridge Elementary. Peyton and Cameron are three-year-old twins (girl and
boy) who are currently in daycare, but will be attending Sandy Ridge in two
14. Please describe your adult employment history (skip if resume included)
(919) 768-2662 | firstname.lastname@example.org
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS – Amherst, MA
Masters of Business Administration, 2011
FOCUS: Information Technology Management and Stategic Planning
ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY – Normal, AL
Bachelors in Computer Science, 1997
ITIL v3 Foundations – 2009
ITIL 2011 RCV (Release, Control, and Verification) – 2013
ITIL 2011 CSI (Continual Service Improvement) – 2013
Lean SixSigma Greenbelt
PMP Certification 2014 (expected exam date in July, 2014)
Motivated professional with wide ranging experience and a successful 16-year track record of
successful high value projects, application development, change management administration, systems
administration, research and implementations. Including 8 years of full lifecycle technical Project
Management. High business knowledge backed by years of experience and a Masters of Business
Administration. Talent for quickly researching and mastering new technologies and trends.
Highly Technical – experience with many lines of technology. In-depth hands on experience
with server operating systems such as UNIX, Debian Linux, Ubuntu, RedHat, Windows 2000 – 2008.
Have years experience with specific systems such as SQL Server, Tomcat, Apache, Weblogic, MySQL,
and Oracle up to 11g. Proficient in programming languages such as C, C++, C#, Perl, PHP, Python,
Flexible and versatile – able to maintain a strong composure under pressure. Poised and
competent with demonstrated ability to easily translate highly technical problems into layman’s terms,
break down complex issues, and solve difficult problems. Specialize in high impact issues needing in-
depth research and creative thinking to solve. Thrive in deadline-driven environments and have the
ability to communicate with everyone from customers to CEOs.
Research, purchase, install and implement large-scale infrastructure environments including
Servers, Databases, Network setup, and front-end applications.
Designed iContact’s load balancing architecture using F5 technology, NginX and SQUID.
Lead large scale enterprise applications from concept to delivery.
Agent portal saved North Carolina Mutual an estimated $900,000 per year in mailings and
Initiated and lead project of ant scripts for Motricity to automate server and commerce setup to reduce
time to development and time to production for each environment from 3 weeks to 6 days.
Lead development of North Carolina Mutual’s Agents Portal to reduce need for general content delivery
for over 3 hundred agents in the field. The project is estimated to have saved NC Mutual $7 mm in
administrative costs per year.
Boosted uptime from 98.6% to 99.9%, eliminating 13 hours of downtime for iContact’s
infrastructure by adding reducancy and a new change mangement processes.
Explornet’s Donorsphere - $2.2 million project for transferring used computer equipment to
schools in need. Conceived original concept of online donations for used computer equipment
(919) 768-2662 | email@example.com
from citizens to schools. Site was responsible for 7,500 used computer donations to Wake County
Aegis Mortgage’s Loan Line created over $113 million in new loans in the first 6 months of
Hands on experience developing applications in seven programming languages.
Professional Experience, continued
MANAGEMENT: ITIL IMPLEMENTATION/LEADERSHIP/PROBLEM SOLVING
Current ITIL 2011 Foundations, RCV (Release Control Verification), CSI) (Continual Service
Improvement) Certified through PeopleCert.
Greenbelt project to reduce system generated email to support staff. Project is expected to save Credit
Suisse over $100 million in email storage and usage over a seven year period. (currently in progress)
Project Manager of multiple Datacenter Migrations, Decommissions and Installations for
iContact, Motricity and ESJ Enterprises. Responsible for initial plan through hand off to Systems
Engineers at the successful completion of each move.
Managed teams varying in size, from 3 to 15 including:
ESJ Enterprises: 23 (Systems Engineers, Network Engineers, Systems Administrators)
iContact: 11 (Database Administrators, Systems Administrators, Network Engineers, and
Motricity: Up to 8 (Database Administrators, Application Engineers)
R.H. Donnelley: 10 (2 Local, 4 Kansas City, MO, 4 Chicago, IL)
Proven ability to design functioning ITIL based processes and procedures, including creating and
implementation of a full Change Management Process and associated Change Advisory Board.
Introduced LoadRunner to iContact QA Processes in efforts to isolate system problems
associated with capacity and concurrent users.
Design and Implementation of multiple Change Management procedures including etablishment
of a functioning Change Advisory Board (CAB).
Lead database service offerings as Manager of Database Administration at Motricity. Team
managed, developed and administered over two-thousands instances of Oracle Databases ranging
from 9i – 10g.
Presented a CEO Award for initiative to design and implement ITIL based processes in Change
Management, Release Management, and Continual Service Improvement.
CREDIT SUISSE – Durham, NC Product Manager – Global Data Services, 2013 to Present
CREDIT SUISSE – Durham, NC Senior Equities Applications Engineer, 2012 to 2013
ESJ SOLUTIONS – Baton Rouge, LA Senior Manager, IT Service Delivery, 2009 to 2012
ICONTACT – Durham, NC Manager, Infrastructure Services, 2008 to 2009
MOTRICITY – Durham, NC Manager, Production Applications Engineering, 2005 to 2008
NORTH CAROLINA MUTUAL LIFE – Durham, NC Web Architect Contractor, 2007
R.H. DONELLEY – Durham, NC Web Programmer/Project Manager, 2003 to 2005
AEGIS MORTGAGE – Baton Rouge, LA Program Manager, Internet Technology, 2003 to 2004
METAMETRICS INC. – Durham, NC Project Manager, Technology, 2002 to 2003
STEAMSERVE – Raleigh, NC Implementation Consultant, 2001 to 2002
EXPLORNET – Raleigh, NC Internet Services Manager, 1999 to 2001
IBM – RTP, NC Java Developer, 1997 to 1999