2006 Executive Educator Archive
Who Evaluates Whom?
Employee evaluation is one of a school administrator’s most important jobs. Evaluations put employees on notice that they are accountable for their work, and establishing an effective evaluation system is one way public school leaders demonstrate accountability to the public. In the era of No Child Left Behind, high-stakes testing, and requirements for highly qualified personnel, documenting how employees perform is increasingly necessary. This three-part performance appraisal system is clear, comprehensive, and consistent.
Breaking the Hiring Barrier
Qualified minority candidates are out there—why aren’t they hired as superintendents? There are African-Americans in the pipeline, but while white candidates can take positions in both white and minority districts, the reality is that African-American candidates are rarely considered for positions in nonminority districts.
Women constitute the other half of the talent pool, so why aren’t they better represented in the superintendency? Sad to say, gender, racial, and ethnic bias are alive and well in America. What does all this mean for school boards? We believe the most important lesson is to recognize that the issue is a matter of social justice. Board members should learn how to recognize policies and practices that are gender biased and should remove or change them.
Links in the Chain
The problem of board members becoming inappropriately involved in matters best handled elsewhere is not limited to a particular size or type of district. It’s a temptation for board members everywhere. Your role as a school board member is always clouded by the emotional needs of the people around you. The public views you as its elected official and partner in solving problems.
It goes without saying that a good working relationship between the school board and the superintendent is key to a school district’s success. But does your district or state have policies that outline how to achieve that, and have you taken the steps to make those policies work? Connecticut’s board-superintendent governance statement provides a road map for success.
Shaping School District Culture
School districts don’t have to adopt the "duck and cover" model for school change. It is possible to create a district culture in which continuous improvement and meaningful change can occur. The five keys to unlocking this kind of culture are: create a trusting environment; establish a shared vision; create a collaborative culture; expect high expectations; and imbed continuous improvement and support.