Advertisement

Panel to study BOE appraisal policy

August 11, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Washington County Board of Education member Melissa Williams said she was disappointed the school board voted last week to suspend its self-appraisal policy, sending it to committee for evaluation.

“I think that the process of an annual self-appraisal is one way that we hold ourselves accountable as a board. I see it as a missed opportunity to evaluate the quality of what we do as a board collectively,” Williams said Aug. 7 in a phone interview.

Williams brought up the policy during the board’s July 23 meeting, asking that it have a discussion soon about how it was going to do the self-appraisal, which under board policy is due by Oct. 1.

The board discussed the issue in closed session Aug. 6, after which board member Wayne Ridenour made a motion during the public business meeting to suspend the policy and send it to the policy committee for review. The committee can look for ways to improve or change the policy, or recommend it be rescinded, he said.

“If it ... becomes the will of the board that ... we don’t have a process of annual self-appraisal, then ... how will we hold ourselves accountable?” Williams asked during the board discussion.

Ridenour said he thought all board members held themselves accountable and took their roles as board members seriously.

“We have probably the most effective ... self-evaluation or evaluation ... of any group because every four years the public has an opportunity to grade us. ... I’m comfortable with that,” Ridenour said during Tuesday’s meeting.

“But, I think the problem has always been that it becomes individual members looking at one another, looking at other members and evaluating them for them. In other words, they are telling you how they see your work performance and how they believe your performance ... should be carried out,” Ridenour said.

Board President Justin Hartings said he participated in three or four board retreats in which the board evaluated what it was doing.

“I think every time we came out of those ... meetings, the board was in not as good a place as it was when we went into the meetings,” Hartings said.

“I think if we keep our focus on the work that we were elected here to do, I think we can and have done great things for the people that we serve,” Hartings said.

Williams said last week that the self-evaluation isn’t about appraising individual board members, but looking at the “collective work of the board, the effectiveness of the board as a whole.”

She said the staggered elections every two years don’t give the voting public a chance “to appraise the collective work as a board.”

The board voted 5-2 to approve Ridenour’s motion, with Williams and Karen Harshman voting “no.”

“I will not be voting for that because I do feel that ... we need to, along with everyone else, be evaluating ourselves,” Harshman said before the vote.

Williams said the policy committee also might want to consider the board’s accountability policy when it reviews the self-appraisal policy.

That policy states the board should “hold itself accountable for carrying out its mandate to plan, to make policy, to evaluate, and to lead in the identification of goals and objectives and the resources necessary for their achievement.”

Board member Jacqueline Fischer, who chairs the policy committee, said Wednesday she didn’t know if the self-appraisal policy would be discussed during the committee’s Aug. 27 meeting because the panel had other ongoing matters it hadn’t finished.

The other two board members on that committee are Hartings and Harshman.

Advertisement
The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|