By Sally Absher

Patti Bounds requested a “Discussion of Superintendent’s Evaluation Protocol” for the mid-month work session meeting last Monday.

Bounds explained, “As I read and studied Dr. McIntyre’s evaluations last year and previous years, what became apparent to me was the lack of a criteria-based evaluation. He is evaluated on five broad areas of focus, but with that there is no criterion on which to determine his level of competency.”

She pointed out that teachers are evaluated by an extensive rubric, as are school-based administrators, so why not the superintendent. She asked, “Where is the measurement, where are the indicators, where are the descriptors, and where is the rubric?”

She said as a lead teacher, she evaluated Knox County teachers on instruction, planning and environment in three domains; 19 indicators, and over 100 descriptors. Other states use such a rubric for superintendent evaluations, citing specifically North Carolina, and Dr. McIntyre’s home state of Massachusetts.

She asked the board to study, and decide on a rubric that has a tangible way to measure the results to be used in his next evaluation. She said she also wants to include a new employee survey, developed by the board and administered by Central Office.

She added, “I wanted the board to look at what, perhaps, a superintendent in Massachusetts would be evaluated on.” She said what she saw in previous evaluations was a self-evaluation based on the five areas of focus, and then each board member addressed those five areas of focus. She added, “If everyone else in our system is being evaluated on a rubric, then we need a rubric for our superintendent.”

Doug. Harris pointed out that in the strategic plan, there are “quite a few metrics that will be very nice to use for his evaluation… very concrete, specific…”

Bounds said she would go back and look at that, but “I don’t believe it will be quite as complete as this rubric is. That comes from my state training, and what I was required to do as I evaluated teachers in Knox County.”

Gloria Deathridge also referenced the strategic plan, and asked Bounds if she was recommending just putting numbers to categories listed in the strategic plan.

Bounds clarified that looking over past evaluations, Dr. McIntyre has done a lot of things well, and improved education in Knox County, but she kept hearing he needs to improve in the area of communication with employees. She asked how do you measure that?

Bounds continued, “In the TEAM evaluation for teachers, there are ways to measure how teachers are performing. To my knowledge there is nothing to base that on for the superintendent.”

She then quoted a portion of Dr. McIntyre address to the U.S. House education subcommittee. “The TEAM evaluation system features an excellent classroom observation instrument or rubric…which begins with a detailed and research-based definition of good teaching and allows educators to understand how their instruction measures up against a very rigorous standard. The power of TEAM and any strong performance evaluation system is that it provides consistent and useful information regarding effectiveness that can be utilized in human capital decisions…”

Bounds concluded, “I’m just saying we need this same research-based definition of a superintendent to allow us to see his performance measures up against a rigorous standard.”

Karen Carson said the topic was worthy of discussion, but it’s not a quick process. She added, “It’s not going to happen this year. Part of Dr. McIntyre’s contract is that we make changes to his evaluation that are mutually agreed upon, so the board can’t unilaterally make this decision.”

It must be nice to have a job where you can dictate the terms of your evaluation.