Case Study: Cassadaga Valley Central School
Charles Leichner, superintendent of Cassadaga Valley Central School, realized his school district’s evaluation process had remained unchanged for over a decade. One of the main issues was that their process lacked a rubric, making feedback from board members subjective. While Leichner and the board members had a great dialogue and rapport, SuperEval allowed for a more streamlined assessment, focusing on pre-determined goals and priorities.
SuperEval ensures evaluations are no longer a surprise, putting the mind at ease. It also allows board members to understand more clearly the work of the superintendent.
For the past decade, Cassadaga Valley Central School relied on an outdated evaluation process that included six or eight major categories. Of those categories, board members would assign a numerical score out of 20; however, board members did not use a rubric. Without a set of guidelines to define what each number meant, the scores lacked reliability.
Leichner would often receive the highest evaluations for easy, visible tasks. On the other hand, categories where he invested not only the most time, but the highest quality work, were ranked low. This was challenging because the school board wasn’t aware of all the Superintendent did on a daily basis because it was done behind the scenes.
Even more challenging was that the results of the evaluation directly determined the superintendent’s raise, which would be up to 4% annually. In addition to the varied results from asking board members to assign a numerical value without defining what the value meant, another main concern was that the board members’ view of the superintendent’s work was limited to board meetings and did not account for day-to-day work and goal achievement.
How SuperEval Helped
Since adopting the online tool for superintendent evaluations, Leichner says that SuperEval has helped his district to define its priorities and allowed them to add substance to the conversation. Evaluations are no longer limited to a predetermined checklist that may not even properly represent a superintendent’s typical duties.
With board members only seeing superintendents a small percentage of the time, typically at monthly meetings, SuperEval provides a look behind the curtains at all of the valuable work done by superintendents on a daily basis. And since it aligns with the NYSCOSS rubric, there are a clear set of standards that the superintendent is responsible for.
In addition, Leichner affirms the product is easy to use. He sees value in the collaborating and sharing of information, bouncing ideas back and forth, and performing mid-year evaluations with SuperEval.
Results, ROI and Future Plans
SuperEval has allowed Leichner and his school board to more clearly define their district’s objectives and set annual goals. The cascading goals that affect the superintendency can be built right into the SuperEval process, permitting Leichner and his school board to more effectively manage the district through better, more consistent communication.
SuperEval allows for more interaction between superintendents and board members. The ability to add documents on the go is paramount. SuperEval offers a cohesive system where superintendents can add emails, documents, and progress reports to a central system to show updates to the board when headway is being made.
SuperEval opens the evaluation process, giving superintendent’s input on the evaluation categories and scoring. The tool raises the level of conversations between superintendents and school boards, leading to an improved governance team.
Leichner adds, “Yes, I really would recommend that other leadership teams consider SuperEval to complete the required superintendent’s evaluation each year.”
About this Article:
All information was gathered during an interview conducted in September 2017 between PLS 3rd Learning and Charles Leichner, Superintendent at the Cassadaga Valley Central School.