Columbia Board of Education piloting new superintendent-evaluation process


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The Columbia Board of Education unanimously voted at a work session Thursday morning to approve a new superintendent-evaluation process.

The new evaluation process comes after three board members — Jeanne Snodgrass, Katherine Sasser and Suzette Waters — abstained from voting to renew Superintendent Brian Yearwood’s contract in January.

Yearwood’s extension passed with a 4-0 vote and was extended through the 2025-26 school year.

Those who abstained from voting stated they felt the process was rushed. Waters said the new process stems from the January meeting.

“We had made it clear in our discussions with the full board that we did not feel that the proper process had taken place prior to voting to extend the superintendents contract,” Waters said. “We needed to work within the parameters of our policies and our process to protect the institution… It was not about Dr. Yearwood’s performance,” said Waters. “It was about the process.”

The Missouri School Board Association has worked with the school board since the fall to create the new superintendent evaluation.

“He has been working for us since last fall on developing a new superintendent evaluation process,” said Waters. “Including the whole suggested timeline, and then all the forms to help boards go through a systematic process of evaluating their superintendents.”

Waters said she has been meeting monthly with School Boardmember Blake Willoughby and the MSBA to develop the pilot evaluation process.

According to a presentation linked in the board’s agenda, the goal of work session was to.

  • Understand the purpose and benefit of the superintendent evaluation.
  • Understand factors that inhibit the superintendent evaluation process and how to overcome them.
  • Learn MSBA’s pilot process for superintendent evaluation.
  • Discuss the first or next steps for the Board of Education, regarding the superintendent evaluation process.

The pilot evaluation will now shift from an event to a process throughout the year, and provide periodic training for board members to help the district align with improvement goals.

The pilot process hopes to identify two or three goals impacting student learning and promotes ongoing learning and growth of the superintendent.

The next step would be to establish a baseline performance of the superintendent, using past evaluation results and a formal baseline evaluation. It looks to base the superintendent’s progress on tangible evidence and quantifiable evidence.

The superintendent will also create a written growth plan. This will include targeted performance, strategies and actions, evidence of completion of each strategy/action and dates for completion.

The process also includes scheduled updates with the board, reviewing the progress on the written growth plan and providing updates on the action, indicators of success and target dates for completion.

All board members will then discuss and share the aforementioned target goals and will determine a summative performance. Including the baseline performance, formative feedback on goals during the year, Superintendents’ summative update, and individual board member feedback.

The pilot process will conclude with a discussion over the superintendent’s progress and will select goals for the next evaluation process.

“I hope it assures the public that we’re taking our jobs seriously,” Waters said. “It was embarrassing to have a situation come up where we were caught kind of not doing our best work earlier this year.

“I hope this will give the community a little boost of confidence in us that we are aware of some work that we need to do and that we’re being really intentional and spending a lot of time and getting some help figuring those procedures out so that we do it right.”

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Originally Appeared Here

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