This is a fascinating article from the Texas Observer that explores the myth of the hero superintendent, the popular delusion that one transformational leader can “save” a school district. The idea was shaped by the Rhee story, the TIME cover implying that she held the secret to “fixing America’s schools,” a myth that persists despite the absence of any objective evidence.

The focus of the article is the first year of Dallas superintendent Mike Miles, who arrived as a superstar and barely survived an effort to fire him a year later.

The good news in the story is that belief in the hero superintendent idea–the man or woman who rides in as a miracle-worker on a white horse–is fading. Common sense is slowly returning. Maybe.

Improving schools requires teamwork, collaboration, professionalism, and a steady course. Stars come and go. The builders are steady, reliable, consistent, persistent, dedicated to ideals greater than themselves.