Higley Unified School District Superintendent Denise Birdwell will be reviewed through a revised evaluation Dec. 3 after the governing board approved the new tool Thursday.
Board members unanimously approved the draft version of the evaluation they discussed during a study session before the last school board meeting.
The superintendent will be evaluated on five performance standards: leadership and district culture; organizational management; communication and community relations; curriculum planning, instructional leadership and assessment; and human resources management.
These are based on standards established by the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Boards Association.
After each standard, board members can rate the superintendent from zero to five, with zero as “unacceptable” and five as “excellent.” There is also room for comments after each standard.
Birdwell will also be evaluated based on progress towards four goals established by the board and superintendent: academic programs, personnel, communication and resources.
The superintendent will also fill out the evaluation, and board members will come to a consensus on ratings, performance and areas of focus through discussion.
The revised evaluation is a pared-down version of the previous evaluation approved last year.
The new version was retooled by board member Kim Anderson and board president Greg Land. They felt the 19-page evaluation was too “overwhelming.”
Board member Venessa Whitener and former board member Nancy Eugenis spent several months last year working on that evaluation document to evaluate former Superintendent Joyce Lutrey, who left the district in December.
The revised version had caused some turmoil amongst board members because Anderson and Land didn’t tell the other members they were retooling the evaluation. However, no other board members said anything about the issue at Thursday’s meeting, except Anderson, who read a prepared statement.
Anderson stressed the board hires the superintendent to be the CEO of the district, and it’s their goal to study goals and evaluate the superintendent.
She said the new evaluation was an “attempt to match the new board and the new superintendent.”
“I consider it still a work in progress,” Anderson said.
Board members are supposed to “debate” policies and any board member can suggest changes to current policies, she said.
“Sometimes we have to agree to disagree,” Anderson said. “This board is not a rubber-stamp board... I hope the board will continue talking in an open and frank manner.”
Birdwell will be evaluated by the board Dec. 3 in a closed executive session. If needed, another meeting may be called for the evaluation.
Then, according to district policy, the superintendent makes an interim progress report to the board in March.
The deadline to notify the superintendent of non-renewal of the contract is March 15.
The superintendent contract negotiations are completed in May.
The governing board decided in February to keep Birdwell in the top post through the 2009-10 school year.