Vitti: Rating Echoes 'Solid 7 Months'; Duval Schools Superintendent Gives Mostly High Marks on Self-Evaluation

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Byline: Khristopher J. Brooks

Nikolai Vitti believes he has been a highly effective Duval County superintendent after seven months on the job.

The School Board will evaluate Vitti on June 20, but beforehand, board members asked the superintendent to submit his own assessment. While acknowledging there are areas he must improve, Vitti gave himself the highest marks in 47 of the 48 performance categories.

"The first seven months have been a solid seven months," Vitti said. "What I hoped to accomplish when entering the district, I did."

The School Board's chairman and vice chairwoman are mum about Vitti's self-evaluation, but one board member said he generally agrees with Vitti's rating of himself. Starting next week, each School Board member will have a private meeting with Vitti to go over his evaluation. Board members can ask Vitti questions before completing their evaluation.

In each category, Vitti can score himself on a scale of 1 to 10, with 8-10 meaning highly effective. He gave himself 22 10-point scores, 16 9-point scores and 9 8-point scores. The only place Vitti gave himself less than an 8 is under parents, staff and students school safety.

Vitti said the areas he rated as 8 signal where he is almost at satisfaction, but still sees a few more steps to improve.

For example, Vitti has an 8 on working harmoniously with the board. He said he sends hundreds of emails to board members, but he still needs to get a better understanding of how each board member prefers having issues communicated and when. Vitti said he still needs to develop more trust with board members and that trust will likely come after more board meetings, workshops and time talking.

"I think that comes with time," Vitti said. "And we have to put that into perspective. We've only been working together seven months."

As another example, Vitti also has an 8 on parent and community support to the district. He said he's talked about his parent academy and hosted town hall meetings, but the academy isn't running and more parents aren't engaged enough. Part of improving that, Vitti said, is refining customer service throughout the district.

Vitti said district climate surveys showed him that parents, staff and students don't feel as safe as they could while in school buildings. …