The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 16, 2008

Superintendent Doyle praised in performance evaluation

Carlisle School Committee (CSC) Chair Nicole Burkel presented Superintendent Marie Doyle’s favorable performance evaluation at the School Committee meeting on May 7. School Committee member Dale Ryder suggested a change in the process for future years, noting she had not been given a copy of the final evaluation prior to the May 7 CSC meeting. The annual review process began with input from each committee member, including written comments and ratings that could range from “Strength” to “Solid” to “Area for Improvement.” Burkel then condensed the information into the report, and she and CSC member Wendell Sykes then reviewed it with the Superintendent. No vote was taken on the evaluation, which is conducted annually by the School Committee.

Doyle was hired as superintendent in 2004 and is concluding the first year in a three-year contract. Her current base salary is $130,636.

Doyle received strong marks in each of several categories. Her relationship with the School Committee, her relationship with students, educational leadership, general and budget management, and personal qualities and characteristics were all rated highly as strengths. She received a “solid” for public relations and a “solid/area for improvement” for personnel management.

The report included praise of her relationship with the CSC. “She is courteous and respectful in her dealings with the members, quick to praise and she notes and thanks members for their efforts. She displays humor and tact when addressing members and solicits input when key decisions need to be made.”

Toward pupils, the report states, “She seems truly committed to understanding how kids learn and how teachers can more effectively help different kinds of learners.”

On her management during a difficult financial year, it was noted, “Marie demonstrated flexibility, creativity and perseverance as she worked with town boards, School Committee, faculty and staff to ensure that core programs, personnel and initiatives were retained as much as possible.”

Personnel issues

Personnel management was an area where suggestions for improvement were offered. During the four years since her arrival, the school administration has experienced turnover, including the departure of three principals. The faculty has had disagreements with the Superintendent, and last June issued a “vote of no-confidence.” Consultant John Littleford met this academic year with the School Committee, administration and faculty to help address management issues.

The Superintendent’s evaluation states, “Marie makes herself available to members of the faculty, meeting weekly with representatives of the CTA [Carlisle Teachers Association], actively seeking input from members of the administrative team, visiting teachers and classrooms, and keeping an open door to anyone with questions or concerns. Nonetheless, the changes in style and organizational expectations continue to be uncomfortable for some members of the staff.”

The report continues:“The current culture of the school does not foster communication between staff and administration. Although much of this culture was inherited from the previous administration, Marie has been Superintendent for four years now, and needs to take responsibility for correcting this situation. Some of this problem occurs at the administrative team level. While turnover at the administrative level has been a problem, Marie needs to encourage early intervention, when problems are present, at all administrative levels with both positive action and appropriate documentation.”

The section concludes with recommendations that Doyle: “Develop [an] action plan and implement recommendations made by [the] organizational consultant. Define decision-making processes in advance and communicate guidelines for major decisions. Define superintendent vs. principal role[s] more clearly. Stick with a decision once made in an informed way. Have someone with you for any key meetings to help maintain a record of what was said and decisions reached. Develop a transition plan for the new principal. Create opportunities to interact with staff on [a] less formal level.”

Stretch goals approved

The CSC voted to accept Doyle’s four performance “stretch” goals, which are tasks agreed by the School Committee to be beyond Doyle’s regular duties as a superintendent. She will receive $1,000 for each completed goal: oversee preparation of the budget; oversee business office during business manager maternity leave; curriculum review; work with School Building Committee on Spalding Building. The contract only includes the provision for stretch goals for the current school year. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito