Superintendent Evaluation 

Superintendent annual appraisal options

Texas Education Code 21.354 provides two options for the annual appraisal of a school district's superintendent:

  • Option One: A district may use the commissioner's recommended appraisal process and performance criteria.
  • Option Two: A district may develop its own appraisal process and performance criteria in consultation with the district and campus-level committees, which is then adopted by the board.

The Commissioner’s recommended appraisal system for superintendents

The commissioner's recommended appraisal process and criteria requires, at a minimum: (1) an annual evaluation of the superintendent; and (2) a student performance domain. Other appraisal procedures and criteria are determined by the board. 19 Tex. Admin. Code § 150.1031. With only two general requirements, this commissioner option provides significant flexibility for the board to otherwise develop its own superintendent appraisal system.

Consideration of a district’s annual performance report

In addition, the information in a district’s annual performance report must be a primary consideration of the board in the evaluation of the superintendent. Tex. Educ. Code §§ 39.306, 39.307(3)(C). This requirement applies to all districts, without regard to whether a district uses the commissioner recommended appraisal system or its own local system developed in consultation with district and campus-level committees.

Key questions

Can a school board use the same appraisal instrument it used in prior years to evaluate the superintendent?

Probably. In years prior to 2016–17, the commissioner's recommended appraisal system for a superintendent evaluation had many more requirements than the current streamlined system. If school boards used an appraisal instrument based upon the old commissioner rule, the instrument would have included a student performance domain as well as other appraisal criteria. A district may continue to use an appraisal instrument from prior years as long as it includes a student performance domain and primary consideration of the information in the district’s annual performance report.

May a school board develop a new appraisal system without consulting with the district's site-based decision making committees?

Yes. As long as the district’s appraisal system includes the commissioner’s general requirements for an annual evaluation of the superintendent and a student performance domain, then the district may develop a new appraisal system without consulting with site-based decision making committees. A new appraisal system should be developed in sufficient time prior to implementation to provide adequate notice to the superintendent and comply with any contractual requirements.

Does TASB offer a Superintendent Evaluation Instrument as a recommendation?

Yes. The TASB instrument includes the legal requirement of student performance and additional items the board might want to consider. These additional items include annual goals as adopted by the board and other areas of performance responsibilities. Items in the district’s annual performance report not included in the student performance domain should be added as well.

Helpful resources

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If you have questions about the superintendent evaluation process, contact Bill Rutherford at 512.505.2460, or bill.rutherford@tasb.org.