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Fellow Success Stories: How SBP Helped Us Reimagine Superintendent Evaluation for Griffin-Spalding County Schools

Evaluation graphic

In the age of accountability and transparency in education, it was important to me that the practice was implemented from the top down. I noticed that our superintendent evaluation was only scratching the surface of ensuring that our leader was setting an example for all of the employees in our district, but how could I go about trying to fix or improve something so deeply rooted within our board? Through the support and mentorship provided by School Board Partners’ (SBP) fellowship program, not only did we gain that answer – we developed and actually implemented a solution.

It all started when I visited a 4th-grade classroom, and a scholar excitedly shared with me a project on which he was working. Along with the project, he had a rubric from his teacher that outlined the expectations of the project in a very detailed manner. This scholar was able to articulate exactly what he needed to do in order to earn an ‘A’ on the project. This experience, coupled with what I knew of the evaluations that are in place for teachers and professionals, I knew that our superintendent evaluation needed to be restructured.

As board members, it was incumbent upon us to ensure that our superintendent was clear on the expectations of the position and was aware of what evidence was necessary to show that each responsibility as the top leader was being met. We require that our teachers and district professionals collect data, receive observations, and show evidence of the work that they are doing in service to our students and school communities. That same level of high standards and expectations needed to be asked of our district’s top leader.

When I first joined the board, I wasn’t able to get my colleagues to see the value of anything I presented. During this time, I received a total of 6 Letters of Reprimand and was distraught and did not know how to navigate this process, that’s when I called SBP co-founder Carrie and begged for a mentor. After much consideration, I was paired with Dr. Nate Easley. In June of 2021, after a year of working closely alongside him, the SBP leadership team and fellows across the 1st and 2nd cohorts to compare evaluations from their districts across the country; Griffin-Spalding County Schools passed an entirely new superintendent evaluation instrument – one that is much more comprehensive and aligned with the evaluation criteria that our teachers and administrators are subject to.

The new evaluation has specific goals and indicators that offer an objective look at the work our superintendent does. Evidence is explicitly explained so that the board knows exactly what to look for when completing the evaluation. Finally, it’s aligned to our district’s strategic plan to ensure that our superintendent is completing his job in such a way that it is meeting the goals that we have set for our district.

Since its approval we have already seen improvements in the way the business of educating our scholars is done. This necessary adjustment was made so that all stakeholders could be held accountable to the goals that we have in our district to improve outcomes for our scholars.

I could not be more grateful for the guidance I received from SBP, without which none of this would have been possible.