Madison Schools superintendent Robby Parker earns high marks on first evaluation by BOE

Madison City Schools Superintendent Robby Parker made top grades on his report card for his first year in office.
The annual superintendent’s evaluation by the Board of Education gave Mr. Parker high marks in areas of Facilities Management, Financial Management, and Management of Pupil Services.

Growth areas cited were in Technology Management, delegating more to focus more on superintendent-exclusive tasks, and establishing a better personnel management system for efficiency.

Board President Ranae Bartlett led a summary of the evaluation at the Thursday, June 28, BOE meeting.

“This was a very good evaluation.Outstanding,” she said.

Overall, in scoring categories and remarks by the board, Mr. Parker received high praise for taking the reins of leadership from predecessors to lead an outstanding school district to even greater heights.

The Board unanimously approved the maximum $5,000 allowed in his contract as incentive pay for meeting goals. Mr. Parker humbly said so many others do unseen work that make him look good he will be donating the money to a worthy cause.

The evaluation comes as Mr. Parker completes his first year as superintendent of Madison City Schools. He replaced Dr. Dee Fowler, who retired after a decade at the helm.

In discussing Superintendent Parker’s evaluation, board members agreed that he’s doing a great job. Said Luis Ferrer: “The bar was set very high. He’s gone above it.” Mr. Ferrer commended Mr. Parker’s staffing decisions, community outreach and branding of the school district.

Observed Connie Spears: “He’s so good at so many things we have to remember he’s still new” when dealing with issues that he’s never been confronted with. Ms. Spears said Mr. Parker’s love for kids and always striving to do what’s best for students are indisputable. Board members also commended him for his openness and transparency, vision, and vigilance in actions like enforcement of residency requirements.

The annual review is conducted through a process that begins with questionnaires distributed to all principals, as well as central office department heads and program coordinators. Each person rates the superintendent in various performance categories and answers a series of questions.

Mr. Parker is scored in each category on a five point scale, with a “1” being an unsatisfactory and a “5” demonstrating excellence. The Board takes the evaluations and does its own evaluation, using the same number scale. The final results are a composite average of the evaluations.

Mr. Parker earned an overall 4.22 with higher marks in Financial Management, Facilities Management, Pupil Personnel Services Management, Communications and Interpersonal Relations, and Community Relations. Marks slightly trailing the average were in Technology Management, CEO of the School Board, Educational Leadership of Schools, Personnel Management and Professional Development and Leadership. Areas marked for improvement – like learning to delegate so he can focus more on superintendent business – are systemic with becoming a larger school district, board members said.

Overall, the 4.22 is impressive given some of the huge issues the system navigated through in Mr. Parker’s first year like:
* Settlement of the long-running Limestone County tax dispute.
* Implementing plans for the 6th grade shift into middle schools.
* Launching expansions at Liberty and Discovery middle schools and creating more DD units at Discovery.
* Guiding voter passage of several property tax renewals.

The evaluation also assessed a score for achievement of goals Mr. Parker set for 2017-18.
His overall grade of 4.55 include a 4.8 for the middle school grade reconfiguration plan, 4.6 for initiatives to better prepare students for “new collar” opportunities (credentialing programs that ready them for the workforce upon graduation), 4.4 for launching a plan to make students proficient in a second language by graduation, and 4.4 for new math initiatives.