News Statement from the Madison Board of Education
Report on Evaluation of the Superintendent
Hiring, supervising and evaluating the Superintendent are major responsibilities for the Board of Education. It is important to remember that this is a collective task for the Board and represents the combined views of seven very different individuals.
The Board of Education met three times (August 22, September 26 and October 11) to discuss our evaluation of Art Rainwater’s performance as Superintendent. We evaluated him in the areas of Leadership, District Climate and Morale, and Relations with the Board of Education. (See below for the full list of areas we evaluated). We ranked the Superintendent using the scale: Exemplary, Strong, Competent, Improvement Needed, and Unsatisfactory. We identified areas of strength and made note of specific areas for improvement.
The discussions were frank, open and extensive. As Board president, I have met with Superintendent Rainwater to give him the detailed evaluation report and answer any questions he had. I am making available to the public this summary of the results of the Board’s discussion.
In all areas the Board found the Superintendent’s performance either “exemplary” or “strong.” We felt that his greatest strengths were in representing the district in the community, maintaining productive relationships with employee unions and in carrying out the directives of the Board. The Board feels that the Superintendent is a strong, respected leader. We were in unanimous agreement that the Superintendent has been effective in all three areas of Board relations. The progress that the district has made in closing the achievement gap in third grade reading scores and in significantly improving the graduation rates for all students is a testament to the way he has worked with staff to improve our outcomes in these areas.
While we feel that the district is definitely moving in the right direction in narrowing the achievement gap, we, like many in the community, are distressed about the slow progress in the area of math. We would like to see a new plan for this area complete with ways to measure our progress. We felt that, as a Board, we had not paid enough attention to some of the priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan – we would like the Superintendent to develop targets and measures for each priority and to provide an annual report on our performance in each area. We also took note of the progress the district has made in hiring a diverse workforce, but we would like to see a plan for “growing our own administrators” – administrators who are culturally competent and can work effectively with our diverse families and communities.
The Board recognizes the personal investment Art Rainwater has made in maintaining this district as one of the best in the country. We are appreciative of the care he has given to our students and staff, and the special concern he has shown for our most vulnerable students. We feel the district and the community are fortunate in having such an outstanding Superintendent.