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Opinions, no short supply

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By Kathy Lynch

With the case between the Spencer County School Board and its own Sandy Clevenger in limbo, it was no surprise associations from around the state would start to speak up.

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Board of Education voted unanimously to “encourage local school boards to use a revised superintendent evaluation process being developed by Kentucky School Board Association,” as stated in a recent press release.

“We believe the evaluation process has to occur in a very professional way,” said David Baird, KSBA executive director.  “We don’t want to be self-serving and say, ‘Everybody in the state has to use the KSBA format.’ But we do want to say that everybody should do evaluations which include goals, objectives and timelines.”

KBE Chairman Joe Brothers said Education Commissioner Jon Draud’s evaluation earlier this year.

According to the KSBA press release, the process would be as follows:

• To use a set of 10 measures, nine of those recommended by the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Boards Association which outline expectations in different areas like leadership, organizational management and ethics.  While adding one concerning student achievement and learning, tied to the assessment of the district said Mike Oder who manages the associations superintendent search service.

• To develop a set of objectives to be agreed upon that the superintendent will be reviewed upon.

• For the actual evaluation, each board member would fill out a form which the board chair would summarize, after first being given to the superintendent  to begin the evaluation discussion.

Using this process may help the superintendent evaluation not focus on just what took place during the past year but to set goals for the future as well said Baird.

Since the Office of the Attorney General’s decision is under appeal, it has not legally taken affect according to Kevin Brown, the Department of Education’s general counsel.

Baird reiterated the KSBA’s support for the Spencer County appeal. He said that their belief is in the integrity of a process where board members have the opportunity to say things to their superintendent in closed session, then followed with a report or summary which would come out of that session, for the public’s scrutiny.

“We are saying that the superintendent and board should establish goals and objectives publicly long before the evaluation occurs.  If you are setting the goals ad objectives in public and discussing them throughout the year, that gives the public an idea of the performance of the superintendent,” said Baird.