Tips for Evaluating Your Superintendent

By George A. Goens

Accountability is the main watchword in education.

Database decisions, data mining, and metrics dominate the landscape. Charts, graphs, comparables, power standards, and key indicators assess the performance of schools, students, and programs.

But what about the superintendent’s performance?

Can leadership be reduced to a set of numbers? Is this evaluation like a business profit-and-loss statement, based on strategic decisions, tactical processes, and metrically measurable results? Do graphs and charts fairly assess a leader’s effectiveness? What does a superintendent control?

Accountability for leaders is complex. Superintendents swim in an educational, social, political, and economic pool where logic doesn’t always rule and where symbolism is powerful. Leadership concerns myriad relationships that are difficult to assess, not a matter of painting by the numbers. Intangibles are important.

Certainly, superintendents are accountable. The question is, “For what?” 

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