Board Gives City Schools Chief Satisfactory Evaluation

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | Superintendent Paul McKendrick's first year on the job was rated satisfactory, according to the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education's evaluation.

University of Alabama statistical methods professor Jamie Mills critiqued the board's newly created superintendent evaluation tool and summarized the board's evaluation during a Thursday meeting.

Mills stated that according to the evaluation, the superintendent's strengths are he communicates well, he has positive community involvement and has been effective in establishing interpersonal relations.

Other areas where McKendrick scored well were on how he provides leadership to improve instruction, his decision-making skills and how he monitors the construction, renovation and demolition of school facilities, especially the recovery from the April 27, 2011, tornado.

"Reports are timely, thorough, explained and consistent," stated an unnamed board member in McKendrick's evaluation. "Anytime he sees a problem, there's a comprehensive solution proposed ... actions are explained and warranted."

"Great visibility ... in forging a number of community partnerships. I was not aware of all the civic groups he'd met with. Meets with staff, principals, parents, students, community leaders and organization(s)."

Mills reported that McKendrick needs improvement in preparing long and short-range plans for school facilities, financial management and seeking sufficient funds to run the school system.

Board comments in the needs-improvement section of the evaluation stated that McKendrick needs to provide more information about the system's programs that are not working, that he needs to give the board more reports on what happens at meetings he's held with the public and civic groups and he should provide more information on current education trends.

"... superintendent has been learning about (Alabama) law this year, so he is not as well-positioned to counsel on those issues as I expect he will be," a board member wrote.

Mills said the evaluation tool the board created is good, but that it's inconsistent.

In some areas of the evaluation, only a few of the board members rated McKendrick.

In the school district goals section of the evaluation, 62.5 percent of the board's eight members didn't rate McKendrick on District Goal 1, which is "the superintendent will continually increase academic achievement for all students, leading to a 100 percent graduation rate. …