Clear Goals Set For an Outstanding School Superintendent

Dear Editor,
The purpose of this letter is to comment on a recent Dispatch
editorial regarding Superintendent Edwin Diaz’s salary, his
performance and the issue of accountability published Nov. 3.
Dear Editor,

The purpose of this letter is to comment on a recent Dispatch editorial regarding Superintendent Edwin Diaz’s salary, his performance and the issue of accountability published Nov. 3.

A Gilroy Unified School District press release dated Oct. 20 was, in fact, a summary of the evaluation process conducted by the board and, as such, did not list the superintendent’s goals for 2005-2006. Nor did it violate the confidentiality of the process by listing several areas of concern discussed by the board.

The editorial board’s commentary stated that the superintendent’s goals “should also include priorities identified by school board members.” The board would agree that all district employees, as well as all constituents of GUSD, should “know exactly what school trustees believe are the overarching priorities to improve student performance in Gilroy.” The following list of Superintendent Diaz’s Goals (2005-2006) reflect the “clear, quantifiable and public” priorities of the board:

• GOAL 1: Ensure effective implementation of the Strategic Accountability Plan

Indicator of success: Results of related Tier 1 indicators (a list of 20 objectives tied to the GUSD Strategic Accountability Plan, including all academic results expressed in numbers and/or percentages);

• GOAL 2: Improve student achievement

Indicators of success: Development and implementation of plans that address issues of concern in key areas at all levels;

• GOAL 3: Increase the use of best practices district-wide by recognizing and promoting outstanding practices and confronting the use of ineffective practices

Indicators of success: Continued improvement of employee evaluation procedures and implementation of District Recognition Program at board meetings;

• GOAL 4: Align resources to support Strategic/Accountability Plan and current year priorities

Indicators of success: Acquisition of additional resources to support Strategic/Accountability Plan; approval of balanced Facilities Master Plan;

• GOAL 5: Effectively engage staff and community in district and school improvement efforts

Indicators of success: Completion of planned task forces/committees and positive feedback from community, staff and parents who participated (i.e. Student Wellness Policy Committee, GHS Bell Schedule Study Group, Accountability Task Force, G.A.T.E. Advisory Committee, Facilities Citizens’ Oversight Committee)

• GOAL 6: Develop and implement an effective communication and marketing plan that builds support for GUSD

Indicators of success: Enrollment data and development and implementation of comprehensive communication/marketing plan

• GOAL 7: Ensure decisions are made at the appropriate level, delegate task to immediate staff and hold accountable for completion

Indicator of Success: Present to Board an overview of leadership evaluation process and summary of the performance of executive team members and principals.

The evaluation process that we have just completed with Superintendent Diaz was lengthy and comprehensive. Individual surveys by each board member regarding the superintendent’s performance led to lengthy discussions and, finally, a document that is structured “so that taxpayers, the superintendent, and all district employees know exactly what school trustees believe are the overarching priorities to improve student performance in Gilroy.”

The members of the board showed due diligence in completing the evaluation process and the subsequent salary adjustment for a superintendent who has exemplified accountability in his leadership of the district for the past five years. This is a superintendent who has been recognized by the foremost publication in the field of education for his leadership (Archer, Jeff, “Leading for Learning”, Education Week, Sept. 14, 2005). Such a national honor is given to a handful of superintendents annually. We all recognize the challenges still facing our district, but applaud the direction being set by Superintendent Diaz.

Patricia Midtgaard, Board Member, GUSD

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