April 22, 2010 9:38:00 AM
STARKVILLE - Starkville school board members met in closed session Wednesday to complete their evaluation of Superintendent Judy Couey, and they came away with a ringing commendation and an extended job contract.
The superintendent is responsible for the day-to-day management of the school district, and the board evaluates the superintendent each spring, measuring performance against the district''s goals.
After the meeting, the board issued their comments and announced their unanimous decision to extend Couey''s four-year contract for an additional year to 2014. She is finishing her second year as superintendent of the Starkville School District.
"We feel like she is the person to lead the district through 2014," Board President Bill Weeks said Wednesday evening. "We''re all excited about the job she''s doing, and we''re ready to move forward."
The board cited Couey''s "increased coordination across buildings and teamwork among the building administrators to focus on instructional improvements, invest in classroom technology, enhance student assessment and reduce the drop-out rate" as top reasons for their positive evaluation. Other positives were her efforts to improve districtwide hiring and personnel evaluation practices.
"The board values Ms. Couey''s effective management of bond issue construction, commending her for the transition plan for the new school configuration and for making several decisions which have conserved district financial resources," they stated in their evaluation.
Weeks also commended her fiscal management.
"Managing the business ... during the bond activity takes a lot of focus from the superintendent, and she''s been able to stay focused on achievement and reorganizing of the schools," he said. "I think the community is going to have to understand that she has budget constraints that are going to get worse before it gets better.
"Everybody is going to have to be patient and try to understand that she''s doing the right thing. She''s going to have to put the dollars where she feels they need to be put and the emphasis on what she feel needs to be emphasized," Weeks said.
The board challenged both themselves and Couey to "redouble efforts to effectively communicate both with the community and with district personnel as support from these groups is necessary to achieve the level of performance expected in this district."
Staff morale will be a focus in light of difficult financial situations, and district goals will remain top priority. The goals, as outlined by the board, are for the Starkville School District to:
Couey was out of the office late Wednesday afternoon, but responded via e-mail to her evaluation and contract renewal.
"The greatest accomplishment to date has been to put into place a baseline assessment system that serves grades K-10," Couey said. "This allows us to track progress of our students prior to the state tests, make decisions about curriculum and instruction, provide interventions for students needing the greatest help, reduce referrals to special education (an area in which we were disproportionate), and to place resources based on the needs of our students. Making data-based decisions will pay off for our students now and down the road as well."
Couey said the increase in the accountability system criteria will make for a challenging upcoming year, but she is confident teachers, administrators and students are up to this challenge.
"I am remaining focused on our students and providing the quality education they deserve," Couey said. "The central office administrators with whom I work, the principals and assistant principals are the best team to lead our district in an era of high accountability."
No compensation was tied to the results of the evaluation; Starkville School District employees and administrators have not received a raise since 2007. Couey was among the administrators from assistant principals and higher administration who took a five-day pay cut as part of this year''s budget.
Sue commented at 4/23/2010 9:45:00 AM:
Is it great that the new school addition at Sudduth floods from rain water?
Snarky commented at 4/28/2010 11:43:00 AM:
Wow, a contract extension before the kids have even taken the state tests yet. That's amazing. Is Starkville's superintendent sleeping with someone on the school board or something?
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