The Barrow County Board of Education met in work session Thursday to discuss how Superintendent Ron Saunders should be evaluated.
The board was recently recertified as a School Board of Distinction through 2009. In order to retain this accreditation, the Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) requires that the board use one of two methods for evaluating the superintendent. The GSBA recommends that member boards use the “Superintendent Evaluation Instrument Option 1.” This form includes eight specific areas in which a superintendent is evaluated based on evidence specified to measure achievement or progress towards indicated goals. The form includes a ninth area which can be tailored to measure performance in any area not covered in the eight designated tasks. The second method would allow the board to continue to use the revised 2002 Georgia Superintendent Evaluation Instrument as long as at least one of the eight tasks outlined in the recommended evaluation form was incorporated. Assistant Superintendent Roy Morgan explained why GSBA wanted school boards to use Option 1. “It forces the board and superintendent to sit down together and say ‘If we’re going to expect you to do this, then let’s agree on what we want you to show in terms of evidence that will prove to us that you have met this goal’,” he said. Board Chairman William Bramlett said the GSBA implemented the policy to address arbitrary evaluations by school boards. Bramlett suggested the board continue to use the existing evaluation form and incorporate one task from the GSBA recommended form – a “catchall” task that measures how well the superintendent has assisted the board in the “continuous improvement of the school district.” “Of those eight standards they are wanting us to implement, we are in pretty good shape on everything really,” he said. Bramlett proposed incorporating the one task with the existing form in order to meet GSBA standards “simply and without investing massive amounts of time.” “We can continue to use an instrument we’ve been comfortable with for decades,” Bramlett said. “One of the things I don’t think the Georgia School Boards has recognized yet is that to get a school board to sit down and agree on any point is difficult, but to agree on eight categories with multiple points would be very difficult.” Board member Mitch Churchill said the transition to the new form was most likely inevitable and members should go ahead and make the change. “I think the focus in doing this is on us giving the best feedback we can give to our executive officer,” he said “It’s about helping him run our school system better. It’s about giving the most effective feedback to him.” For the upcoming year, the board has tentatively agreed to a compromise which would use the existing form and include three of the eight superintendent tasks from the GSBA recommended form: assisting the BOE in the continuous improvement of the school district; providing leadership to the BOE in policy development and implementation; and meeting established requirements in developing and conducting board meetings. The board will meet at a later date to establish criteria for meeting these goals. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for March 4 at 7 p.m. at 179 W. Athens Street in Winder.