Personality conflicts play into evaluation

East Liverpool Superintendent James Herring was evaluated in January of this year by four of five school board members. Although the specific members were not named on the compilation provided to the Morning Journal, newly seated member Brian Allen has said he did not participate, and member Richard Wolf would have been off the board at the time.

Performance indicators were: inadequate; needs improvement; satisfactory; above average; superior; and N/O, not observed.

While he did receive marks of “inadequate” or “needs improvement” in several areas, Herring also received numerous “above average” and “superior” marks throughout the evaluation.

Some improvements that need to be made, according to the evaluation, include providing clear and timely leadership advice “before the 11th hour;” knowing and understanding school and Ohio law; prioritizing his activities; sharing his educational philosophy with the board; more firmness needed in dealing with maintenance supervisor; dealing with personnel; understanding the meaning of “no;” listening to recommendations of the board; reducing the cost of personnel.

Herring’s strengths were listed as communicating well; being a district resident; integrity and passion for his job; being a nice person; being a people person; cares about staff and works to improve them; likes to get things done and works hard once it is started.

The evaluation noted improvements in test scores and completion of the locker rooms at Patterson Field as two significant accomplishments made in the school district attributable in part to Herring.

In a rebuttal letter, Herring refuted many of the areas in which he received inadequate marks, outlining at length why they were not merited. He pointed out that, in averaging the marks, he actually received a “satisfactory” score, saying, “I believe these ‘inadequate’ marks were not a completely professional evaluation taken in the scope of my job description, but more of a personal evaluation due to personal agendas and disagreements throughout this past year.”

Herring also pointed out, “Inadequacy does not appear overnight,” saying he had requested an evaluation each year for the previous two years, but none were given.

“Since I was never given an evaluation stating written inadequacies and recommendations of improvement in any area over the last two yearswhere, how and when was improvement to take place if indeed needed?” he asked.

Crestview Superintendent John Dilling’s evaluation was dated February 2013, and showed that he met all performance goals listed in a variety of areas.

Listed as Dilling’s major strengths were such attributes as working well with people who have opposing viewpoints and trying to see their perspective and having the ability to resolve those types of issues; being well-respected and representing himself in a professional manner; not touting his own accomplishments but deserving to accept the gratitude of others for a job well done; congratulating others for their accomplishments; working well with the treasurer; holding the best interest of the students above all else; having earned the respect of people outside the district; and more.

Among accomplishments attributed, at least in part, to Dilling included keeping the district within its budget; providing a safe environment; securing grants; completion of building projects and purchase of maintenance equipment; and implementation or participation in various academic programs.

Lisbon Superintendent Don Thompson received high scores in most areas of his evaluation, dated June of 2008.

Out of a possible 4.0 points, he received 3.7 in relationship with the board; 3.8 in community relations; 3.9 in fiscal management and business affairs; 4.0 in personal qualities; and 3.9 in professional skills.

His score dropped a bit in relationships with staff, for which he received 3.0, with the only notation, “Works well with staff and has a good relationship with the Administrative Team. Leads by example with his work ethic.”

The evaluation concluded, “Mr. Thompson has taken every opportunity as one in which to learn more about his job. He is energetic and truly enjoys his work.”

According to an October 2013 evaluation, United Local Superintendent Steve Viscounte did well during his first year at the helm, with board members saying he “consistently meets expectations” in all areas except one.

The rating scale ranged from “unacceptable” at 1 to “exceeds expectations” at 5, and the averages of individual scores by board members totaled between 4 and 4.8 in all categories except one aspect under five year plan-goals.

Under goals, Viscounte received a 3.8 in “to evaluate human resources to meet current and future district needs.” A 3 indicates “usually meets expectations.”

Viscounte received 4.8 in professional integrity, appearance and communicates well with board of education.

Areas of strength listed for Viscounte included excellent leadership thus far; his decision making is final and he doesn’t try to make everyone happy; great job of taking care of daily challenges as they occur; good job of keeping board members informed; and makes himself available to the board.

In areas needing improvement, board members concluded, “Smile a little more; people who don’t know you think you are too serious.”

Among comments made, a board member noted, “The honeymoon period is probably over, may have some challenges ahead, depending on outcome of levy.”