Superintendent Commended for Year of Achievements
School board cites "exceptional leadership" in positive evaluation
August 1, 2012 — The school board has completed its annual superintendent evaluation process and commended Dr. Sheldon Berman for a successful first year as superintendent.
Board Chair Jennifer Geller noted, "Dr. Berman has provided exceptional leadership during his first year. He has tackled a wide range of challenging issues that will help 4J provide our students with excellent educational opportunities. We appreciate his ability to navigate the day-to-day management of the district, while at the same time providing us with a vision for the future."
The board based its evaluation on eight standards that encompass the major responsibilities of a school district superintendent:
- Mission, Vision and Purpose
- Strategic Agility
- Educational Leadership
- Leadership and Executive Team Building
- Management and Stewardship of District Resources
- Implementation of Board Goals
Within each of the eight areas, the board cited instances of particularly effective performance and/or progress. Examples included visiting every school and many classrooms to hear principals and teachers discuss their challenges and successes; quickly engaging with civic and governmental leaders to build positive working relationships that are vital to 4J’s progress; providing leadership in the selection of a common high school schedule; making extensive use of data to inform the decisions of staff and the board; restructuring the Equity Committee and placing emphasis on professional development in the area of cultural competence; increasing educational opportunities for English language learners and for students from modest economic backgrounds; bringing grant monies and other resources to the district; addressing recurring deficits in the district’s food service program; making presentations to dozens of state and local audiences; restructuring several leadership positions at the school and district levels; and continually framing decisions in terms of their impact on board goals.
In addition, the board praised Dr. Berman for initiating improvements in such areas as class size reduction, creating time for teacher collaboration, strengthening teacher and principal evaluation systems, staffing allocations, centralizing of some services, stabilization of district finances, the full scheduling of high school students, a study of district facilities, and alignment of the budget with district priorities and board goals. Much work remains, but a positive direction has been set.
Looking ahead, the board cautioned the superintendent that, if revenues remain lean for the next few years, he must be prepared for difficult decisions about the allocation of limited dollars. Communication will be key to every dialogue. The board asked that Dr. Berman continue to engage staff members in candid discussions and increase efforts to gather information on sensitive issues. The board also urged the superintendent to continue striving to expand educational opportunities for all students.
Board members applauded Dr. Berman’s insistence that limited resources are not a legitimate reason for the district or the community to abandon high expectations and the ongoing quest for academic excellence. The board concluded its performance evaluation by praising the superintendent for infusing the board’s annual goals with a sense of urgency and for bringing clarity to the steps that must be taken to attain them.
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