West Seattle schools: Aurora Lora leaving the district

Seattle Public Schools‘ executive director of West Seattle schools has just announced she’s leaving the district. Here’s the letter from Aurora Lora, addressed to “colleagues” and forwarded to WSB:

It is with mixed emotions that I announce I have accepted a position as Assistant Superintendent for the Dallas Independent School District. In my new position, I will be supervising four executive directors, 45 principals, and will be responsible for overseeing the education of 35,000 students. My last day with the District will be July 6.

This was not an easy decision for me because I have truly loved my experience working with the principals, assistant principals, schools, families and community members of the West Seattle region. I have learned so much in the past two years from my work as an executive director and will genuinely miss the individuals that I have had the pleasure of working with during my time in Seattle.

I know the District is committed to finding a new Executive Director for the West Seattle region very soon. I wish you all the best of luck and look forward to hearing about the successes of the Seattle School District in the years to come.

Aurora Lora
Executive Director, PK-12 Schools
Seattle Public Schools

That’s just a few days after new SPS Superintendent José Banda begins work.

30 Replies to "West Seattle schools: Aurora Lora leaving the district"

  • nice gig if you can get it June 21, 2012 (12:21 pm)

    Another example of the Peter Principle. One overpaid, political operative down, five more to go.

  • bsmomma June 21, 2012 (12:42 pm)


  • Wondering June 21, 2012 (12:46 pm)

    Good riddance. We need all new people.

  • uh-huh June 21, 2012 (12:55 pm)

    knew this was coming. good luck STEM school people – I hope your euphoric vision does last, I really do but history tells me once STEM falls into the pool of other SPS schools you’ll be just as bad off as the rest of us.

  • clark5080 June 21, 2012 (1:10 pm)

    like a lot of corporations they are top heavy in management

  • WS Dad June 21, 2012 (3:10 pm)

    Not trying to be harsh, but glad to see Aurora go. She was a major part of the pathetic situation Lafayette had to endure this year.

  • Dee June 21, 2012 (3:40 pm)

    Good news! Shr was in over her head (along with many others in the District)

  • silverback June 21, 2012 (4:07 pm)

    Very Good News indeed!

  • nice gig if you can get it June 21, 2012 (4:22 pm)

    What does it matter if she’s over her head, she got a BIG Raise! That is all that matters.

  • Craig Parsley June 21, 2012 (7:24 pm)

    To my Friends and Parents in West Seattle:
    Aurora Lora has always been a strong supporter of the Singapore Math program at Schmitz Park. She and I also worked together to identify resources to expand an alternative science program for West Seattle schools before STEM was even a dream. I found her to be a smart and competent administrator whose hands were tied by the dogma of others (and a woeful lack of resources).
    Now we have STEM with Singapore Math and an alternative science program. It didn’t happen in a vacuum. She was right there with all of us, in the trenches! Let’s let her depart with grace and respect. I beg you…
    I want to thank her for recognizing that a change was needed in West Seattle and for making the effort to support us to bring a new vision to fruition.
    Good Luck Aurora Lora
    Craig Parsley

  • BMC June 21, 2012 (7:35 pm)

    WS Dad – As a future Lafayette parent, please enlighten me as to the pathetic situation there last year? Thanks

  • Seattlemom June 21, 2012 (8:51 pm)

    Is this the same grace and respect she has giving to stem kids/ parents and mchs kid/ parent to throw them together before she advances to her next career path?
    Hmm…good luck dallas

  • nice gig if you can get it June 21, 2012 (9:00 pm)

    Well, seems things worked out well for Schmitz Park and those SPS staff that will work at STEM. What about the rest of us?

  • WSParent June 21, 2012 (9:11 pm)

    Thank you for that perspective, Mr. Parsley.

    I’m interested to know more about the alternative science program that you mentioned. I and many other parents been very concerned about the woefully lacking science program at Madison, and I wonder if there’s a different science option that I’m not aware of.

    One bright light on the horizon has been the possibility of an improvement in the middle school program in preparation for STEM science/math kids feeding into Madison. I know Aurora Lora was interested in that. Does anyone know if this will still happen?

    If not, is there an alternative to taking the science class offered at Madison? For kids who had any kind of science program in elementary, this middle school science program is ridiculous, a step back of at least three grades.

    -hoping for improvement

    • WSB June 21, 2012 (9:23 pm)

      I need to remind would-be commenters of our rules regarding multiple handles. While we don’t require you to register or use the same handle all the time, we do have a rule that if you comment more than once in any single thread, you do need to use the same handle for all those comments, so that there’s no appearance of multiple participants who are really the same participant. We will not approve subsequent comments by someone who is using a different handle than their first comment in the thread. Thanks! – TR

  • evergreen June 21, 2012 (10:16 pm)

    I think it’s easy for us to blame the most visible faces for our SPS woes. We have not a clue about what goes on behind the scenes, or how decisions are made. For all I know, Lora could have been a real advocate for some of the same issues of interest to me. I think she was an easy target b/c she was visible and a TFA grad.

    Best to you, Ms. Lora.

  • bosslady June 21, 2012 (10:16 pm)

    I beg you? That is very dramatic. She is doing what is best for her, of course. Dallas schools are WAY different than Seattle — she will have a steep learning curve.

  • WSParent June 21, 2012 (10:37 pm)

    Aurora, thank you for all that you have done for the WS Schools and in particular Arbor Heights Elementary. We will miss you and wish you the best in Dallas.

    After reading the other posts here, I do not blame you for wanting to leave WS and SPS!

  • WSParent June 21, 2012 (10:39 pm)

    By the way, Aurora had previoulsy taught in Dallas. She knows what she is going back to and it is probably a lot better than what she had to deal with here.

  • Bill Betzen June 22, 2012 (3:49 am)

    I’m a retired Dallas teacher still volunteering to work on lowering our dropout rates. I notice Seattle has 10 k-8 schools and 9 middle schools. How does the achievement of middle school aged children compare between these two grade configurations?

    Other research (http://schoolarchiveproject.blogspot.com/2012/02/separate-middle-schools-vs-k-8.html) shows significant improvement with k-8. Is that true in Seattle? Can you direct me to any research for Seattle? Hopefully that is one of the things Ms. Lora can do for us here in Dallas.

  • Kim June 22, 2012 (7:00 am)

    I cannot speak to all of her actions, but can extend my own gratitude for the help and commitment she gave to Arbor Heights in helping us find a wonderful new principal!

  • sherry June 22, 2012 (9:55 am)

    Yes Aurora did a great job finding a new principal. Best of Luck to Aurora and Thanks!

  • WSMama3 June 22, 2012 (11:04 am)

    Wishing her well and sending her off with thanks for her insight and commitment to the STEM program and my kids futures.

    Was it sometimes a bumpy road- yes. But all roads that lead you on a great adventure are.

    Robin Graham

  • N.A. Neighbor June 22, 2012 (12:25 pm)

    We’ll miss you Aurora! Best of luck to you in your new adventure.

  • StringCheese June 22, 2012 (12:52 pm)

    Well stated Robin!

  • cwit June 22, 2012 (12:52 pm)

    I thought she was helpful in regards to her involvement with Arbor Heights Elementary, also. Regardless of her overall performance, I’m hoping whoever replaces her will be great and keep students (and teachers) at the top of the priority list.

  • Wondering June 22, 2012 (2:38 pm)


    If she is so great and instrumental with getting Singapore math then why not do it everywhere? I say she’s not great. Seattle schools suck.

  • AH Parent June 22, 2012 (7:34 pm)

    Aurora has helped AH Elementary tremendously. She has always been engaged, visible, and helpful. I have had numerous one on one interactions with her and have always felt she listened to concerns and facilitated support and change when needed. I am TRULY disappointmented and wish her the best of luck. As far as I am concerned, Dallas is lucky to be getting her!

  • AH Parent 2 June 22, 2012 (8:57 pm)

    I too am sorry to see her leave. My initital impression of her changed quickly once I had the chance to work with her more closely. She really listened and helped put in motion much of the positive changes that have been made at Arbor Heights. You will be missed Aurora!

  • Fred June 24, 2012 (8:34 pm)

    These past few years have been pretty rough in W.S. but I’d be careful to avoid assigning blame… much better to work toward a great new exec director, advocate for transparency in administrative decision-making and advocate strongly for high-quality schools in W.S., which we all want for our kids, and which will attract the best kind of person to want to help. Let’s be reasonable too, it must be a tough job dealing with us parents.

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