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McDuffie County Board of Education members praise Petersen in annual evaluation process

The McDuffie County Board of Education unanimously gave School Superintendent Mark Petersen a satisfactory annual evaluation at their December regular meeting.

The board uses the Georgia School Boards Association Superintendent Evaluation Instrument, the McDuffie County District-Wide Balanced Scorecard and the McDuffie County Action Plan as the basis for the evaluation.

"He has done a satisfactory job, and the system as a whole has had a number of improvements," Georgia Hobbs, the vice-chairwoman of the BOE, said after the meeting.

The instruments used to evaluate Dr. Petersen are compiled into a check-list that is approximately 70 pages long. The board updated the instrument in a special executive work session and approved it at the November regular meeting.

"We just made some modifications to make it fit our situation," Ms. Hobbs said.

The check lists used by McDuffie County involve goals that were agreed upon at the beginning of the year, a list of expectations on how the superintendent should meet those goals, data as evidence to measure the progress, and an explanatory segment for if the goals have not been met.

The first on the McDuffie County list of goals is "to improve academic achievement as reported by the state and other standardized test results." There are 23 objectives listed to reach that goal. Each objective has a time frame, strategies, a means of measuring, a target percentage and resources.

"(Dr. Petersen's) evaluation was satisfactory. That pretty well sums it up," Board Chairwoman Virginia Bradshaw said. "The things that didn't happen are things that can't happen in one year. There's always room for improvement, but it depends on everybody else, even though the buck stops with him. He works with over 700 employees. He's the CEO of the largest employer of the county, and he does a great job."

In addition to academics, Dr. Petersen's evaluation addresses safety, facility maintenance, community collaboration and personnel.

According to Tony Arasi, the director of professional development for GSBA, Georgia law requires school boards to evaluate their superintendents annually, but gives them no standards to do so. In 2004, the McDuffie school board joined a pilot program of developing evaluations for superintendents. In November, the McDuffie BOE members and Dr. Petersen presented their evaluation process at GSBA training sessions for new board members across the region.

One of McDuffie's new board members, Bob Smith, attended the training sessions, which are required to hold office. The other two new members, Dexter Lovins and Greg Derry, were unable to attend because they were involved in the run-off election. They will attend another training session to be held this summer.

Web posted on Thursday, January 08, 2009

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