Superintendent Mehaffey earns high marks in annual evaluation

by Cynthia Sorn

The discussion of Superintendent Joyce Mehaffey’s evaluation at the May 2 Carlisle School Committee meeting (CSC) was filled with high praise. Each CSC member read a narrative about Mehaffey’s performance and most also gave her a rating in seven categories, which in almost all cases was “exceeds expectations,” the highest rating.

Following the new Open Meeting Law guidelines issued by the Attorney General’s office in 2010, the school superintendent’s evaluation must be developed in a public meeting and all notes filed as part of the meeting documents.

Outgoing member Chad Koski wrote a narrative instead of using the rating system. Of the four members who used the rating system, only Josh Kablotsky gave Mehaffey a “meets” instead of an “exceeds,” on two occasions: in budget management and communication. Mehaffey received “exceeds” across the board in the other five categories: relationship with School Committee, educational leadership, general management, personnel management and district goals.

Relationship with CSC

Mehaffey received kudos for her working relationship with the School Committee. CSC member Mary Storrs said, “Joyce is always well-prepared for School Committee meetings and presents the necessary information for the committee to make decisions.” Koski said that Mehaffey is easily accessible and CSC member Louis Salemy added, “I always learn something from our interchanges.” Fink said, “Her primary focus is providing the best educational experience for all the students for Carlisle.” Kablotsky praised Mehaffey but also suggested her updates could include the challenges that have been faced.

Education leadership

Kablotsky noted the new middle school grammar curriculum and said Mehaffey “has done an excellent job of directing and encouraging curriculum development.” Salemy agreed, “What impresses me most is that it is a collaborative process with the teachers.” Fink praised Mehaffey for working to support all students while maintaining an inclusive educational environment. Koski noted Mehaffey’s insights during the teacher contract negotiations, “She was able to lead the negotiation team to the middle ground that both [the Carlisle Teachers Association] CTA and CSC would find acceptable.” Storrs said that Mehaffey has been an effective leader in staff development. Going forward, she noted the importance of finalizing the new teacher evaluation process.

General management

Salemy said Mehaffey’s leadership has had “a very positive impact on the school.” Fink said that Mehaffey’s collaborative leadership style was an asset while developing district goals. Kablotsky said that despite the building project, “Dr. Mehaffey has skillfully juggled these many challenges.”

Budget management

Kablotsky gave Mehaffey a rating of “meets” for budget management. He said, “Dr. Mehaffey has both managed to the budget and prepared a budget consistent with the school committee direction and town affordability.” Salemy said that Mehaffey is “very aware of the budget challenges we are facing and does a superb job of resource allocation.” Koski said next year’s budget is a “testament to Joyce’s management skills.” He said she delivered a budget that included only a 2.5% increase, “while maintaining the excellent programs Carlisle expects.”

Personnel management

“Joyce has earned the respect of her staff by treating them as professionals,” said Storrs. Koski said that Mehaffey is an excellent manager. Salemy noted that the search for a new elementary school principal was done in a collaborative manner. Kablotsky said that Mehaffey has attracted and retains an excellent faculty.

Communications

Mehaffey is evaluated on her ability to encourage public awareness and gain support for the school. Kablotsky said he gave Mehaffey a “meets” instead of an “exceeds” because he believes there were opportunities for improvement. “On a few occasions, the formation and implementations of school policies have not been adequately communicated to parents,” he said, listing as examples: bus stops, cafeteria table washing and bullying/discipline. Fink said that Mehaffey “is a great spokesperson for our school district.” Salemy praised Mehaffey for attending almost all major school events. Koski said that Mehaffey is available to discuss any issues that arise. Storrs said that Mehaffey is very effective at communicating with the school community, as well as the entire town on relevant issues.

District goals

“Joyce has regularly communicated the district goals and progress toward those goals,” wrote Storrs. Koski noted Mehaffey’s sense of humor and her flexibility to adapt, despite the construction project. Salemy said Mehaffey has met every district goal. Fink said that some parents have been heard to say how easy the construction project has seemed. “It may have seemed easy, but we owe a debt of gratitude to Joyce for her leadership and to the entire administration and staff for the outstanding effort they put forth.” ∆