It’s easy for a school board to get mired in the minutiae of meeting agendas and policy updates but looking at the big picture can help boards support student success. Evaluating the superintendent’s performance is a critical board governance function that can assess opportunities and pinpoint challenges for the district as a whole, as well as the superintendent specifically.
"Selecting and hiring a superintendent is a school board’s most important decision and action. Second, is being clear with the superintendent about performance expectations,” said Robert Duron, TASB's executive leader for member support.
"Evaluating the superintendent’s performance on clear goals drives the performance and direction for all members of the district, from the superintendent to the students,” Duron said. "The superintendent evaluation process, therefore, is paramount to the district’s success."
The course in TASB's Online Learning Center, Superintendent Evaluation: A Comprehensive Guide, walks board members through the three-step process mandated by Texas law.
The interactive course covers the essential components of the superintendent evaluation process. It emphasizes how a board can “prioritize student success while implementing an effective superintendent evaluation.”
The course gives insight into best practices for setting goals and guidance on how to be legally compliant throughout the process. Overall, the course demonstrates how the evaluation process can be an opportunity to strengthen the collaborative governance between a board and superintendent.
The superintendent’s annual evaluation is a three-step process:
- Developing performance goals for the superintendent that align with district goals.
- Monitoring the progress toward those goals and conducting at least one formative conference between the board and the superintendent to provide feedback.
- Evaluating achievement through a written component and holding a summative conference with the superintendent.
Terms to Know
There are some general terms to be familiar with before navigating the course, especially for board members new to the process.
The Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR) is an annual report that gives a range of information on the educational performance of each campus in a district. The detailed report provides statistics on disaggregated assessment outcomes, district staff, programs, and student demographics.
While there is not a specific calendar to follow, the superintendent's performance evaluation process often starts after the TAPR report is released in November or December. This information is presented to the board by the superintendent and is used to set specific goals and monitor progress throughout the evaluation period.
Commissioners’ Recommended Appraisal Process
All superintendent evaluations must comply with legal requirements and must include, at a minimum:
- An annual evaluation
- A student performance domain
- Additional procedures and criteria determined by the school district board of trustees, such as setting actionable performance goals for the superintendent that align with district goals
Student Performance Domain
This is the criteria that evaluates student and campus performance on both general and alternate assessments; College, Career, and Military Readiness (CCMR) indicators; and graduation rates.
Goal setting is the first step in the superintendent’s evaluation process and an opportunity for a board to adopt a vision statement and set comprehensive goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Take the Course
Conducting a meaningful superintendent evaluation is an essential board governance function that can help drive student success. Superintendent Evaluation: A Comprehensive Guide in the Online Learning Center goes over best practices and gives tools and resources to help board members navigate this comprehensive task. Participants will get 1.5 hours of continuing education credit for completing this course.
If you have questions about the superintendent evaluation process, email email@example.com or call 800-580-8272, extension 2458.
This article was originally published Nov. 18, 2022. It was updated Feb. 14, 2024.
Beth Griesmer is a senior communications specialist for TASB.