Maryville Schools chief gets 2-year contract extension
By Matthew Stewart | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Maryville Board of Education presented on Tuesday another passing grade for the system’s director of schools.
Board members used a new evaluation, which was different from Director of Schools Stephanie Thompson’s three earlier evaluations. The new evaluation uses Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers in collaboration with the National Policy Board on Educational Administration.
The National Association of State Boards of Education has openly recommended the use of ISLLC standards by its membership, said board Chairwoman Christi Sayles. ISLLC standards are the only common set of standards developed by a national body of state departments of education and national leadership organizations.
Board members evaluated 74 individual processes, activities and characteristics related to ISLLC standards, Sayles said.
The director was graded in seven areas on a scale from 1 to 5 with the latter being the best possible score. She received:
• 4.51 for vision of learning;
• 4.42 for school culture and instructional program;
• 4.35 for management and operations;
• 4.4 for collaboration with families and community;
• 4.42 for integrity, fairness and ethics;
• 4.27 for political/social/cultural context;
• 4.16 for superintendent-board relationship context.
After Sayles presented the scores, Vice Chairman Doug Jenkins made a motion to extend Thompson’s contract by two years. Denny Garner seconded the motion.
Charles West told his peers that he wouldn’t have been in favor of the motion last year. “We have a tradition of renewing contracts for one year. However, we’re the only school district in creation that does it. I was surprised to learn at the board/superintendent relations workshop that we’re the only school district that does it. I think it’s completely fair given these scores.”
The school board also needs to think about the director of schools position, said Bethany Pope. “What happens when Stephanie decides to leave? She is the only one who will work for one year. Everyone does more than a 12-month contract.”
Board members unanimously approved Jenkins’ motion. Thompson’s new contract will run until June 30, 2015.
Keep focus on children
Thompson was humbled by the two-year contract extension. “I appreciate the board extending my contract. We’ve been following a process based on a shared vision, which has helped us through our decisions. We’ve kept our focus on the children and offering them the best available opportunities.”
The school district has accomplished many things in the past year, she said.
Maryville City Schools won the first district-level State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) Prize, which is awarded to schools and school districts that most dramatically improved student achievement in spite of today’s challenges. Maryville beat out Loudon County and Williamson County systems.
John Sevier Elementary and Maryville High School were named among the three finalists in their respective divisions. John Sevier also won third place among East Tennessee’s elementary schools in the Education Consumers Foundation’s 2012 Value-Added Achievement Awards.
“I’m very proud of the accomplishments of our staff and students,” Thompson said. “They keep raising the bar. I also appreciate the support of our community, school board, city council and parents. We’ve had a lot of challenges. We’ve made a lot of tough decisions this year, but they’ve been what’s best for this system.”