Janesville22.6°

Board gives superintendent good marks

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
March 25, 2010
— The Janesville School Board is generally pleased with its superintendent about one year after she took over, but at least one board member was displeased with one aspect of her performance.

The board reviewed its evaluation of Superintendent Karen Schulte in closed session Monday.


The board issued a statement Wednesday, praising Schulte for "increased transparency" about district operations, increased participation on parent- and staff-satisfaction surveys, openness to listen to all stakeholders and "professional conduct in all district activities."


Board President DuWayne Severson said this is the second time the board has evaluated Schulte using a survey that asks the nine board members to rate Schulte's performance. The survey asked the board to rate her on six criteria:


-- Responsiveness to the board's needs. Five members rated her as excellent or above average, three said she was average, and one said she was below average.


-- Willingness to listen to board members' concerns. Seven said excellent or above average. Two said average.


-- Quality of her communications to the board. Four said excellent or above average, three said average and two said below average.


-- Professional conduct and behavior. Seven said excellent or above average. Two said average.


-- Courtesy. Seven said excellent or above average. Two said average.


-- Overall satisfaction of board members. One said excellent, four above average and three average.


The responses were converted to number scores, which were weighted and then averaged to a 3.93 on a 5-point scale.


A similar year-end board survey will become part of Schulte's overall evaluation, Severson said. The Gazette plans a look at the new evaluation system in Sunday's editions.


As with other satisfaction surveys the district has been conducting, no names were connected to the individual responses. The Studer Group, which has been partnering with the district in a quality-improvement initiative, processed the results, Severson said.


Severson said the lower marks probably had something to do with the fact that most of the district's top administrators have been replaced in the past year.


"Dr. Schulte and her leadership team continue to develop a greater cohesiveness to provide more timely and informative responses to the board of education and others," according to the statement.


"The board is very pleased," Severson said. "We think things are definitely going in the right direction."


Schulte is in her first year of a two-year contract. Her pay was not a topic of discussion Tuesday, Severson said.


Nothing new in contract talks

Negotiators of a new Janesville teachers contract remained tight-lipped after meeting Wednesday night.


Co-lead negotiator for the teachers, Jim Reif, e-mailed the Gazette to report that the two sides met for two hours and "we discussed various topics."


The school district side did not respond Wednesday to requests for an update.



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