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Evaluating the superintendent

By Staff | Aug 26, 2015

The Lee County School Board discussed the superintendent evaluation rubric at a workshop Tuesday afternoon because many of the board members wanted to address the subject.

Chairman Cathleen O’Daniel Morgan said it was her understanding that the board wants to expand the rubric, so it is more meaningful.

Board member Steve Teuber said if the district is being driven by the strategic plan and they are basing their budget on that plan, then the evaluation of the superintendent should be based upon the outcomes of the plan. He said the rubric should be geared towards the seven areas of the strategic plan.

Teuber said, for example, if the board were to look at one human resource or vision then those topics should be aligned with the strategic plan.

Board member Pamela LaRiviere agreed that the evaluation should be correlated with the strategic plan.

“That is the most logical way to go,” she said. “We have a score, but we really don’t have a rubric. A rubric tells you what the score means. All we have is a word ‘outstanding,’ but that doesn’t tell us what ‘outstanding’ is going to be. And it will be different in each one of those areas.”

LaRiviere said the board should move to a four-point rubric instead of three. She said a four-point rubric allows a place for “unsatisfactory,” “needs improvement,” “satisfactory” and “outstanding.”

“A four, or even number, is most preferred statistically, although we as a state don’t do it,” LaRiviere said. “It makes you make a decision to re-evaluate it.”

In addition to a four-point score, she said there also needs to a second part. For example, LaRiviere said, if somebody is blatantly “unsatisfactory” with something, they may fall under the category of “needs improvement” needs to be worked on.

“Therefore I lean more toward a four-point to a three-point,” she said.

With a four-point rubric, LaRiviere said, it provides the board with better positioning because they would be working to identify what unsatisfactory looks like. She said they would all be looking at the same way and they all would come to a consensus and agreement.

Board member Jeanne Dozier said she thinks the district should continue using a three-point scale, but define each area clearer.

“I guess this was developed by using the quality initiative and quality principals and right now I can’t think of why they came up with the three,” she said. “There was some rationale why they used the three. I don’t know if that is standard business because a lot of it is geared and based on business management. I don’t know if that is why the three is used.”

LaRivierie and Teuber shared their desire to stick to a whole number point scale, rather than using such scores as a .5 or .25.

“My problem with a point scale outside of the concrete numbers is then you really create a continuum. Why even have the points at all? You are really going 0 to 4 and every increment in between,” Teuber said. “You really are on a continuous scale. I don’t like the point system. I am OK with the three-point or four-point or the five-point. It has to be concrete, you have to know where we are, otherwise you don’t really need points.”

Dozier said she uses percentage points during an evaluation.

“If we hadn’t used percentage points, the overall collective score for the superintendent would have drastically gone down,” she said. “You might be forcing people to doing something. I didn’t want to say unsatisfactory, instead I wanted to put something else there because there was some movement there or some work, but I didn’t want it to be totally unsatisfactory.”

Board member Mary Fischer said it’s either, you are not doing it, you are doing it or you are doing a better job than the district expects you to do, but it’s not specific as what it takes.

“I think we are all flying by the seat of our pants,” she said. “In fact, the first time I did an evaluation we did not have reference to the protocols and it was kind of like well Then when I saw other people’s evaluations after the first time, I said, ‘Oh you can use .5.’ But we need to have a scale and it has to be specific and what it is required to get a one, two, three or four and I think that is a better way to be consistent.”

Superintendent Dr. Nancy Graham said she suggested that LaRiviere sit with Dr. McCullers because he helped her created a document using rubric.

She said the second thing she is curious about is the performance goals and where they fall into the conversation. She said she is also thinking about what her contract says, which is, she would be evaluated on the performance goals.

All in all, Graham said she is being judged on the district’s performance, so it might as well be an official part of the document.