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Trustees review superintendent’s job performance

Steve Ranson | LVN Editor Emeritus
Dr. Summer Stephens, right, received her first job performance evaluation last week at the December school-board meeting.
Steve Ranson / LVN file photo

Churchill County School District trustees expressed satisfaction with Superintendent Dr. Summer Stephens after discussing her evaluation at Wednesday’s December meeting.

Trustees reviewed 18 areas ranging primarily from the budget, communications and curriculum.

“The superintendent has a tough job,” said board member Matt Hyde, who offered his feedback first. “There’s seven board members, seven personalities and seven different ideas.”

Hyde said Stephens has put in a lot of time into the district, and as a result, he said the board has come together to support her.

“You have done a good job,” he added.

Overall, Stephens, who was hired during the spring of 2018 to replace Dr. Sandra Sheldon, who retired after serving five years, received 36 excellent responses, 76 satisfactory, 13 needs improvement and none for unsatisfactory.

According to the survey, trustees gave her high marks in dealing with the budget, character/ personal qualities and legal counsel. Areas receiving strong satisfactory marks included communication with the school board, contracts and job descriptions, employment concerns and complaints, communication with trustees, public relations, treatment of staff/employees and volunteers, treatment of students and parents, safety, district goals, capital projects and academic progress and growth and curriculum/professional growth.

Trustee Carmen Schank said Stephens came into a tough situation with a budget she didn’t create. She said Stephens has been good in reaching out into the community and at the state level.

“You brought a lot into the district,” Schank said of Stephen’s ability to apply for grants. “I’m pleased to have you here.”

Pinder said Stephens improved the communication process within the district by reaching out. The first-term board member also cautioned Stephens.

“Don’t take on too much and be patient,” he said.

Pinder, though, said he feels Stephens is leading the school district on the right path.

Another first-term trustee, Tricia Strasdin, said she doesn’t like the current form as a tool for the superintendent’s evaluation. Strasdin echoed Schank’s comments and said she appreciates her grant funding. She then commented on the school climate.

“I am still concerned about the culture at some schools,” she said.

Fred Buckmaster said he’s continually learning as a board member. He agreed with Strasdin, saying would like the board to look at a different tool for evaluations.

Amber Getto said Stephens is doing a good job, but added there’s always room for improvement.

“I feel you work hard but maybe too hard,” Getto said.

Board President Kathryn Whitaker said she works closely with Stephens. Whitaker said she when the board hired Stephens, trusts were looking for someone with a vision and strategic plan to take the school district to the next level.

During the past 18 months, Whitaker said there’s a lot of work” going in in the school district.

Whitaker said she has enjoyed her time collaborating with Stephens.

After reviewing the evaluation, trustees approved to extend Stephens’ contract through June 2022.

• The board also elected its officers for the 2020 school year. Hyde becomes president with Strasdin serving as vice president. Schank remains as clerk with Pinder as acting clerk. Whitaker declined the nomination to remain as president because she was appointed as an officer on a state education board.

Stephens gave an update on the district’s strategic plan. She said goals should be set for the 2022 school year. She informed trustees on the progress on the goals. Part of the strategic plan, she said, is to show students what opportunities exist outside the school environment.

Nate Waite, the school district’s NWRPDP (Northwest Regional Professional Development Program) facilitator said he’s behind the school district’s strategic plan. He has met with state superintendents from eastern states who talk of the plan’s importance.

“It’s incredible to me we waited this long,” he said of CCSD’s implantation.

In showing concern for students and their future job training, Waite said Fallon is no longer competing with students from other districts.

“We are in competition with the whole world,” he added

Strasdin said many teachers have looked for a framework for a long time, but Waite also said there’s a percentage of people, for personal reasons, who would rather teach the status quo. Stephens reiterated the strategic plan is a work in progress.

“We’ll continue to work with the principals so they’re on the same page,” she added.