Boards seem satisfied with superintendents

LISBON – All three of the schools I requested superintendent evaluations from provided them.

Beaver Local’s evaluation of Superintendent Kent Polen was several pages long. It seemed to be based on the Ohio Superintendent Evaluation System and included instructions for how it should be utilized by the board. Additionally, it offers a timeline noting there should be several steps to evaluating the superintendent and the process should take about a year to complete.

The first section evaluated Polen’s performance from May to July, with most areas marked that he meets or exceeds expectations. However, it did note some areas of concern were whether he was providing board members with the “whole story” and working with opposing viewpoints to get cooperation. Finally the first section notes concerns with Polen putting off difficult decisions and issues until they “blow up.”

The second section was a long list of essential job functions, highlighted and in most cases again noting Polen meets or exceeds expectations in several areas. Under comments it was written “The board feels that better communication is needed. Board feels Kent is doing a good job, but we feel like we are uninformed at times.”

The evaluation also complimented Polen on staying on top of the building project and sticking to timelines for projects.

The evaluation further listed some goals, questions who is assigned to write grants and if the school should be going after more. Goals included providing information to the board and the Beaver Local community as a whole. Additional goals noted dealt with the school excellence and a drug testing program.

Although it was with a different pen than the rest of the writing, the evaluation was signed by John Campbell, the board president.

The evaluation of Leetonia Superintendent Rob Mehno was similar in some ways. Strangely it had the name of Treasurer Jennifer Coldsnow at the top crossed out with Mehno’s name written above it. However, each page did note it was the Superintendent’s evaluation form. It should also be noted the evaluation was completed in May 2012 and was for the 2011-12 school year. I requested the most recent evaluation, which it may be no evaluation was done last year.

In most instances, those evaluating Mehno marked either exemplary or satisfactory for items listed under the headings various performance objectives; required ethical and professional attributes and behaviors; and other expectations and demonstrated skills and abilities. One of the items noted where he could improve was taking on items which could be delegated to others. In another place it noted Mehno needs to prepare an annual professional development plan and attend more conferences.

Overall, though it seems the board is well satisfied with Mehno.

“Mr. Mehno has performed to improve the education of our students and maintain with fiscal responsibility. There is no doubt that he has our school as a very high priority. He goes beyond the BOE’s expectations for a superintendent. We are fortunate to have him as our leader.”

The evaluation was signed by former board member John Rydarowicz.

Finally, the West Branch evaluation of Superintendent Scott Weingart is only one page long. It notes Weingart conducted a self-evaluation as did the school board. It lists his strengths as staff development and school/community relations. The evaluation also identifies two priorities for the 2013-14 school year as being personnel administration and planning and evaluation.

Under additional comments, similar to the board at Beaver Local, the board at West Branch is seeking increased communication. It was noted the board wants more than just a once per week, week-in-review. Additionally, the board asked Weingart to look at ways to restructure administrative duties, be tougher on the people he supervises and focus on the future, especially in the area of technology.

The board commended Weingart for an outstanding report card. Additionally, he was credited with negotiating a new contract with the teachers and classified staff, as well as handling redistricting.

The evaluation also noted the board’s goal of focusing on strategic planning efforts through the Ohio Improvement Plan.

Finally, the evaluation noted in the summer of 2013, the board planned to work with Weingart to identify goals and objectives with a review of how those objectives are being met at the January 2014 organizational meeting.