Charleston County School Superintendent Nancy McGinley meets boards expectations in annual review
Although the top schools leader in Charleston County regularly battles a divided school board, that same board had little to say publicly during her annual performance review.
What they said
The following are excerpts of Charleston County School Board members’ written comments on school Superintendent Nancy McGinley’s evaluation:
Chairwoman Cindy Bohn Coats on the superintendent’s vision:
“Dr. McGinley has shown great improvement in this area. … One area of opportunity for her is to ensure that the goals, measures, etc. are clearly defined and communicated to the public and all external stakeholders. Too much education jargon and answers with exceptions lead to a lack of trust.”
Vice Chairman Craig Ascue on the superintendent’s management:
“I think that we have found that literacy is the one strategy that we will use to propel our children to the top. I applaud the commitment but still have reservations about exactly how we are getting there with resources in some of our most impoverished communities. This is much room for improvement.”
Elizabeth Moffly on the district’s climate under the superintendent:
“There is only one way the superintendent functions: her way. It has been said by those in the community that understand the inner functions of the district’s organizational approach ‘it is the closest they will come to the Kremlin.’ Employees, parents and students all fear retaliation if they speak out.”
Chris Fraser on the superintendent’s community relations:
“Like the previous question (on district climate), a strength. As a recognized leader, the superintendent has strong relationships and support from area mayors and works with all community groups in an effort to move the district forward.”
The board used a new system to evaluate Superintendent Nancy McGinley, and her score of 3.44 on a 5-point scale fell into the category of meeting expectations and goals for improvement, according to results released Monday night. That outcome was described as a “good evaluation for solid performance,” according to the Studer Group, which facilitated her review.
Like previous years, her evaluation largely was based on objective factors, so McGinley said the most significant part this year was that a similar format would be used to gauge other administrators’ effectiveness.
“This is the model for the rest of the district in terms of administrators’ evaluations being aligned to what I have had,” she said.
McGinley neither asked for nor received a bonus or contract extension; her contract expires in 2014 and includes an option to renew. McGinley said it would make sense for the board not to want to change superintendents before Vision 2016, the district’s strategic plan, expires.
The board approved her evaluation 8-1, with Elizabeth Kandrac voted against the majority. Kandrac said she didn’t initially realize the survey she was taking on the superintendent would be used to rate her, and she was “shocked” that the superintendent didn’t provide the thick portfolio of documentation on her work as she had in previous years.
McGinley said she wasn’t asked to provide that information, but she could if board members wanted.
Kandrac said she didn’t receive McGinley’s evaluation until Monday evening, and she hadn’t had time to review it, which was why she voted against it.
“That’s just one comment,” she said. “I’ve got tons more.”
The only other discussion on the superintendent’s performance came from board member Craig Ascue, who said he also would’ve liked to see that portfolio, and member Chris Fraser, who commended the superintendent’s leadership.
McGinley’s evaluation had 16 areas, each of which carried a different weight. Ninety percent of her score comes from objective formula, and 65 percent of that came directly from students’ progress. Her evaluation goals required the district’s overall scores to improve 1 percentage point in reading and math for third, fifth, seventh and eighth grades, as well as end-of-course pass rates and the graduation rate.
Her review also took into employees and parents’ satisfaction and finances.
Board members’ evaluations were worth 10 percent. Each member was asked to rate the superintendent in seven areas on a 1 to 10 scale. Kandrac and Elizabeth Moffly were the only board members to give McGinley the same rating in every category, the lowest possible score of “1.”