Brandywine School District will explore new ways to formally evaluate Superintendent Lincoln Hohler this year.

Brandywine seeks help on superintendent evaluation 

Jarek RutzHeadlines, Education

Brandywine School District will explore new ways to formally evaluate Superintendent Lincoln Hohler this year.

Brandywine School District will explore new ways to formally evaluate Superintendent Lincoln Hohler this year.

The Brandywine School District voted Monday night to explore using the same new model for evaluate its superintendent that Christina decided to consider two months ago.

The vote came after Brandywine School Board member Ralph Ackerman recommended contacting the Delaware School Boards Association to set up a workshop to talk about its program they would use with Superintendent Lincoln Hohler.

John Marinucci, executive director of the association, described the program in late September to Christina’s board.

The program is free, but requires some training. It was created by Cape Henlopen School Board Chair Alison Myers as part of a doctoral dissertation.

The superintendent evaluation focuses on five areas:

  • Vision and goals 
  • Teaching and learning
  • People, systems, and operations
  • Professional responsibilities
  • Superintendent’s goal 

It’s been used by the Cape board since 2017.

The move follows discussion in the education world about boards not holding annual reviews of their superintendents’ performances. Education advocacy group First State Educate said few districts do that.

RELATED STORY: Many Del. districts don’t evaluate superintendents annually

Colonial’s board and other district boards have some form of end-of-the-year meetings with superintendents, but there is no formal review that spells out how the superintendents did or didn’t achieve the goals and met expectations.

“I would ask for the rest of the school year, the board does exactly what Mr. Ackerman is proposing,  and take a look at some different models that are out there,” said Brandywine board member Kim Stock.

Capital and Lake Forest school districts have also inquired about Cape Henlopen’s model, according to Marinucci. 

RELATED STORY: Christina board looking for new model to evaluate superintendent

“What’s great about it is it’s not just an evaluation since it starts with developing performance expectations that the superintendent and the board agrees to at the beginning of the year,” Marinucci said. 

The model includes check-ins throughout the year and then the formal evaluation at the end of each school year. 

The model requires a board to hold an initial meeting with the superintendent each year  determine the specific goals, and the actions needed to succeed. That’s followed by three meeting to discuss the metrics and data needed to evaluate progress. 

Because the board and superintendent establish goals and expectations prior to the year and then meet regularly, “there shouldn’t be any surprises” at the formal assessment, Marinucci said.

“Successful superintendents need to know what the expectations are, and while it all starts with a job description, there are certain things that the board would like for the superintendent to focus on,” he said. “The items they and the board agree upon in the performance plan are things the board has a special interest in to move the district forward.”

The final evaluation score would be determined by a majority vote of the board, which would be responsible for taking any action. 

“This is an opportunity for us to come up… with a tool that is going to be an effective and fair evaluation and will help to hold us as a board, and future boards, accountable to the community,” Stock said.

In other news, Brandywine’s board announced Monday that Starr Wilson, who’s been a social worker for more than a decade, will serve as the district’s parent representative on Wilmington Learning Collaborative’s governing council. 

She’s the mother of two children in Harlan Elementary, which is one of the nine schools included in the collaborative, a grass-roots organization focused on  improving outcomes and empowering families in the city of Wilmington.

Its participating districts are Brandywine, Red Clay and Christina. 

The Learning Collaborative will now look to fill the remaining five open seats of the 12-person governing council, Rev. Shanika Perry said. 

RELATED STORY: Here’s what the Learning Collab will do to get started

She added that the collaborative is working to create an application process for the Executive Director, who will lead the governing council. 

Christina School District’s board is expected to announce its selection for parent representative at its monthly meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m., according to board member Naveed Baqir.

Immediate efforts to reach Red Clay Consolidated School District for more information on when the district will select its parent representative for the Learning Collaborative were unsuccessful.

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