10 Do’s & Dont’s for Evaluating Your Superintendentby Diane Sandifer 5 Comments October 18, 2010
Additional contribution by Bill Sampson
We’ve compiled our top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Evaluating Your Superintendent. Here goes.
1. Do create and approve the evaluation instrument ahead of time.
Your superintendent should know BEFORE the evaluation period exactly what he/she is going to be evaluated on!
2. Do use templates to develop your evaluation instrument.
You don’t have to start from scratch when developing your Superintendent Evaluation instrument. The first place to look for a tool for this is your state school board association. Some states might even require that you use a certain instrument or tool. Most do allow you to modify or customize the instrument according to your specific needs.
3. Don’t make ‘em guess.
The superintendent should provide evidence for the reviewers to make educated and informed decisions as to whether he/she has met a specific goal.
4. Do balance positives and negatives.
Be wary of treating the superintendent evaluation as the form of a “gotcha” for past mistakes rather than as a means for future growth and as a way to improve the school system as a whole. Instead of rating your superintendent either as “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory,” you might want to consider a choice of “improving” so credit can be given for strides even if a goal has not been totally met.
5. Do allow for anonymous feedback and comments.
Feedback helps the superintendent continue to grow. Clear communication from the board as a whole is critical as the leadership team collaborates in implementing the plans of the system.
6. Do set aside time for review together.
A retreat setting is a good time to consider going through the superintendent’s evaluation. It’s also very important to decide what time during the year is appropriate for this exercise. Looking at the system’s budget cycle and evaluating the superintendent shortly before budgeting begins allows for any salary adjustments and resources needed to reach the goals to be reflected in the next year’s budget.
7. Don’t forget to hire or appoint a facilitator for reviewing the responses.
Coming together to review the work of the superintendent is important. The individual responses need to be compiled so that the overall rating of the board for each indicator can be determined. An outside facilitator can be helpful in this role. The evaluation process is very difficult for some board members and superintendents and a facilitator can ask the questions that must be addressed.
8. Don’t forget to create action steps as outcomes from the review process.
The school board hires a superintendent and evaluates that person. Then what? Creating action steps from the evaluation results is the next piece. As the board examines the status of completion of the system’s goals, next steps involved in “getting where you’re going” are critical. Who is to do what and by when?
9. Don’t ignore the legal implications.
What are the legal requirements for evaluating the superintendent? Are the results public or confidential? As an employee of the school system, the superintendent’s evaluation is completed in executive session. In the case of a glowing evaluation, some superintendents may choose to make the results public.
10. Do it for the right reasons!
Are you doing this evaluation just to be compliant to a requirement or state law? For improvement. As punishment? If your superintendent has indeed been successful in leading the school system to follow its strategic plan, he/she should be rewarded. Investigate what superintendents’ salaries are in systems with a comparable enrollment. See what the average salary for a superintendent in your region is. The hiring of a superintendent is one of the most important decisions a board of education will make. Remember that evaluating the work and determining the appropriate compensation package is the responsibility of the school board, too.
More help and resources
Note: Bill Sampson is a former Superintendent and Consultant for the Georgia School Boards Association. Diane Sandifer served as board chair for the Harris County BOE, is Past President of Georgia School Boards Association and was member of the NSBA Board of Directors in 2007. She is currently the Account Executive for eBOARDsolutions.
Do YOU have any tips or resources you’d like to share with everyone. If so, please add your comments to this blog!
Categories: Accountability, eBOARD, Evaluations, Evaluations, Leadership, Paperless, PlanningTags: accountability, assessment, board, education, evaluation, governance, leadership, model, school board, strategic plan, superintendent, technology