School board lays groundwork for superintendent's evaluation

The Beaufort County Board of Education will evaluate superintendent Valerie Truesdale's performance during her third year with the district during its meeting Tuesday.

A committee of three board members -- Wayne Carbiener, Joan Deery and Ronald Speaks -- met in a public meeting with Truesdale on Wednesday to discuss her evaluation criteria for the 2009-10 school year and review the materials that will be used to evaluate her.

The full board will evaluate her during a closed meeting Tuesday -- Election Day -- but the committee said it will release a public statement afterward.

Truesdale will be evaluated on the district's progress toward meeting about 30 academic goals, as well as her ability to operate the school district in a manner consistent with 12 performance expectations outlined in the board's governance manual.

The board will evaluate academic achievement primarily by assessing the district's progress toward closing the gap between its average scores on state-required tests and state averages. Although the district hasn't met all of its academic goals, Truesdale said progress is evident.

"Every measure really is trending in a positive direction, and that's good," she said.

The board will evaluate operation of the school district by reviewing more than 100 "monitoring documents," which track district policy and initiatives. Reports covered dozens of topics, including instructional programs, budget preparation, legal liability, employee retention, public communications and nutrition.

Carbiener asked Truesdale on Wednesday what she has been most and least proud of during her time as superintendent.

Truesdale said she's most proud of a culture developed in the district that reflects her staff's desire to improve. Collaboration among schools is better and staff members are excited about taking advantage of training sessions to makes themselves better teachers and administrators, she said.

"That learning culture has really, really grown," she said. "(Principals) are saying, 'Whatever it takes'."

However, Truesdale said she has not seen the academic progress she hoped to at the high school level. For instance, she said the district's average SAT score still trails the state average, despite a 30-point gain this year.