In some cases, no evaluation exists
My visit to the Wellsville School District to request a copy of the most recent board evaluation of Superintendent Richard Bereschik resulted in no such document, although it was mostly due to confusion regarding whether a written evaluation even existed.
I first spoke with a secretary who told me she was filling in for the regular secretary and was not sure how to help me with my request, instead referring me to Bereschik himself. He told me the board is supposed to evaluate him at the end of the year, although he did not recall when the last evaluation was and could not tell if a written evaluation existed.
He did not ask for my name or why I was requesting the information.
When I called the district the next day I spoke with secretary Julie Moore who did ask my name and asked if I was the person who had stopped in the day before, but did not ask why I wanted the information. She was familiar with public records requests and told me she or another employee would immediately begin looking for the documents to comply with my request. Later in the day Bereschik called me to tell me they learned the board has not performed a written evaluation since he was hired as principal, so no such documents existed.
He did say the board meets with him face to face on a regular basis to discuss his performance.
My trip to Southern Local resulted in a copy of a written evaluation for Superintendent John Wilson, provided the next day via email from Administrative Assistant and EMIS Coordinator Tammy Phillips, whom I spoke with at the school district.
Phillips was my first and only point of contact and was very friendly. When I told her I would like a copy of the most recent evaluation she began to take down a written note and as a result asked me my name and why I wanted the information. I told her I was not required to answer why I wanted the information. At this point she hesitated briefly, smiled and then continued to comply with my request. She said she would have the information available to me as soon as possible.
She did not recognize me.
Wilson later called me, but I did not return the phone call due to the fact that I did not wish to identify myself or why I wanted the documents, which is not required of public records requests. In his message he said he was given a message to call me, which I assumed was from Phillips. I did not request to speak with him.
Phillips sent a copy of the evaluation to the personal email account I provided her with (which does not identify me as a reporter) the next day and responded to all my questions in a prompt manner.
The evaluation was given in April of 2013 and signed by both Wilson and then Board of Education President Mike Abraham.
When asked, Phillips said the evaluation represented all board members and individual copies were not given to each person.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “superior” Wilson received 54 threes (satisfactory) on the 64 question survey. Categories covered professional characteristics, establishment of programs that allows the district to meet goals, development of relationship with the board of education, development of relationship with staff, students and the community, development of a climate of confidence and a sense of purpose at every level in the district, and articulation and implementation of educational philosophy.
Wilson did not receive any ratings below three and the only five given was to the statement “is aware of new developments in the field of education.”
He received nine fours, with a four given in each of the categories except for articulation and implementation of educational philosophy.
Written comments on the evaluation stated Wilson is “organized, reasonable and professional on a daily basis,” has a “fundamental knowledge of current and upcoming school reform models,” and “builds trust with staff and holds them accountable to job descriptions.”
Areas he could improve on include time management, with a written comment saying he has “too many irons in the fire” and should focus on a few items at a time instead.
His significant accomplishments according to the evaluation are following and re-alignment of curriculum, professional development and the stadium project.