Carson school superintendent evaluation to change

Carson City School District administration building.

Carson City School District administration building.

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The Carson City School Board will appoint a committee to recommend changes to its annual superintendent evaluation.
A workshop Aug. 9 gave board members an opportunity to compare what other jurisdictions have done and identify how to develop ratings for the superintendent.
In June, board President Richard Varner offered examples from Churchill, Humboldt, Lyon and Storey counties school districts and pulled examples from Iowa, Kansas and New Jersey.
But the timing for adoption, once changes are decided upon, quickly became a question. Trustees called for the workshop June 14 prior to Superintendent Andrew Feuling’s entry into the position. Evaluations traditionally occur early to mid-December, and Feuling’s contract is held to a one-year term. Legal counsel Ryan Russell said any approved changes to the evaluation are most sensible at the six-month mark.
“My thought would be not to change it before December,” Trustee Joe Cacioppo said. “We have the contract in place. To me, this would be for going forward.”
The current Carson City form gauges the superintendent on 11 performance standards on a 0-4 scale, with 0 being unsatisfactory and 4 being superior. Some of the categories include leadership and district culture, educational program/curriculum planning development, human resources management/staff and personnel relations and financial management and business matters.
But the board questioned whether instructional leadership and student achievement could be areas to be cleaned up if revisions were made.
“Whenever we have this conversation, we push for more superintendent test scores, but then in a few months, when teachers are overwhelmed, we say we need to take more off teachers’ plates, and if you tie all of these assessment scores to the superintendent’s evaluation, you’re going to have a lot of data tracking and professional development on these types of things to your classroom teachers, and I think we have to balance it out,” Trustee Mike Walker said.
He said it’s important to consider whether the superintendent helps the district to avoid lawsuits, puts into place liability plans, examines working conditions and generally manages more than just one school site.
“He isn’t running a school, he’s running a school district,” Walker said. “We can’t look at it small scale. That job is broad. He has to respond to whatever comes up. He’s doing some things we never thought a superintendent has to be doing.”
Cacioppo said in fairness to Feuling, having the new form prepared for the 2023 school year also would be ideal to allow him as a new superintendent time to make the necessary professional growth from his previous role as chief financial officer.
“He’s been in the district but he’s looking at it through a new lens,” Cacioppo said.
Board members generally thought the form could be shortened, looking to New Jersey’s evaluation as ideal with its six standards.
They also exchanged thoughts on allowing Feuling to share his own goals and vision as part of the process for evaluation. The board discussed options for reconvening but ultimately agreed it was not the best way to revise the form and decided to form a committee. Russell said members could be appointed without any formal board action, after which Varner said he would proceed with appointing its members.


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