Thu07242014

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   2014 39.95 HSD w VIDor PH-Banner2-500-x-125

Benson gets A+ from School Board

Benson gets A+ from School Board

“Mr. Benson has exceeded expectations in his first year as Superintendent of King George County Schools. He has been proactive in many situations by implementing changes that should improve our school division. Mr. Benson demonstrates a great passion for King George County, its schools, students and staff.”

The above statement is the short and sweet condensed version of the School Board’s official evaluation of Superintendent Rob Benson’s performance over the last year. There is no reason to suggest that the rest of the report card wasn’t also glowing.

The overall comments were read by Mike Rose following a closed session last week on July 29, for personnel changes and also specifically to include discussion of the superintendent’s evaluation.

Though it was not in the form of a motion, the School Board took unanimous action to approve the statement.

That action had followed two previous closed-session meetings to discuss the superintendent’s evaluation. The first meeting took place on June 24, with the second one taking place at another meeting scheduled earlier that same day, last week on July 29.

EVALUATION TOOL
School Boards are required by state law to evaluate their division superintendents on an annual basis.
The evaluation instrument used by the School Board is a public document. The current version of the evaluation tool was developed by the School Board last year, with members drawing from several such tools they had accessed.

The areas used in the evaluation process are:  Planning and Assessment, Instructional Leadership, Safety, Management of Resources, Communications with the School Board, Communications within the School Division, Community Relations and Professionalism.  

The evaluation instrument is a five-page document that cites the areas noted above, and citing three key examples of what is expected for each area. It also provides a space to score the superintendent and also provide optional comments.

The evaluation codes used for scoring performance are:  E - Performance Exceed Standards, S – Performance Meets Standards, NI – Performance Needs Improvement, U – Performance is Unsatisfactory, and CJ – Cannot Judge. The instrument also involves use of a rubric, which more clearly provides for specific performance criteria.

The last page provides space for comments from each member, including overall comments, strengths and areas of needed improvement.  

The evaluation form is expected to be filled out be each School Board member individually, with discussion of their scoring to take place behind closed doors.

But last year, in December 2012, the School Board released its first evaluation of Benson, which included the entire five-page document with composite rankings from each member, and combined comments under each of the areas for evaluation.

That document was not required to be publicly released, since it could have been withheld under the state’s public records exemption for personnel matters.

That first evaluation was likewise glowing, with most rankings as: E - Performance Exceed Standards, and just a few S – Performance Meets Standards.

The School Board had also last year added a qualifying statement in regard to the “Performance Meets Standards” rankings, saying, “Anything short of ‘Exceeds Expectations’ reflects limited time in the position, and insufficient time to see measureable results.” At that point, Benson had only been on the job for nearly six months.

Phyllis Cook

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