Instructional leadership and assessment
1. Vision and goals for student achievement: 4.83
2. Student assessment and planning: 4.14
Growth and professional development
3. Modeling continuous improvement: 4.43
4. Strategic data-driven decision making: 4.14
5. Professional learning support: 4.67
6. Culture: 4.43
7. Stakeholder engagement: 4.29
8. Communications: 4.29
9. Leadership development: 4.67
10. Budget: 4.57
11. Operations: 4.57
12. Ethics: 4.57
Overall score: 4.47
Source: Bradley County Board of Education
CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Johnny McDaniel, director of the Bradley County school system, scored well on a recent board evaluation.
McDaniel -- who was honored as the 2013 Tennessee Superintendent of the Year by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents -- averaged 4.47 points overall on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being "exemplary." The measured categories included instructional leadership, professional development, teaching and learning climate, budgeting and ethics.
"I don't mind telling you that I gave him all 5's. ... I do believe that he's probably the best director of schools in Tennessee and probably the country," board member Troy Weathers said in a recent discussion with McDaniel and the Bradley County Board of Education. "We're fortunate to have him."
McDaniel became director of Bradley County Schools in July 2008. His annual salary is $118,000.
Although other board members verbally praised McDaniel, not all are satisfied with the evaluation method the board recently adopted to measure the director's performance. This year's evaluation is based on one that Bradley County Schools uses for its administrator and faculty.
"This board did not adopt research-based strategies for employing that evaluation," board member Chris Turner said. "We rushed. We did not calibrate greater scales, and I think some of the differences you see in some of the ratings reflect the absence of calibration in training graders and use of the instrument prior to administration."
The board later voted 6-1 to accept the evaluation, with Turner opposing.
After comments, the board agreed to review the evaluation method and McDaniel's contract in coming months.
"As your director of schools, it is my joy to serve our community, our children and parents, our teachers and staff," McDaniel said. "I get to help others find success and ways to be successful. I get to help children dream what they can be."
In other business, the school board approved the proposed 2013-14 budget by a 7-0 vote.
Despite the unanimous approval, the addition of $250,000 in local funding to a 1.5 percent state-funded salary increase came under scrutiny. The extra funding bumps the salary increase to 2 percent.
"I'd like to understand ... what were the competing alternatives for that $250,000 investment?" Turner said. "We chose to increase salaries. What other strategic investments made that conversation? What did we consider?"
"We believe that our employees are the No. 1 reason why that we are one of the lowest-funded schools in the state and still score near the top -- it's about the people," McDaniel said. "It's a matter of what is important to the system, and for me, employees and providing for our employees is a top priority. They're the ones who make a difference with the children every day."
County commissioners are scheduled to review the Bradley County Schools budget May 20.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.