Wallace gets satisfactory evaluation from board
Immediately following the regular school board meeting on Monday, March 9, the board met to discuss the annual evaluation of the superintendent of schools, as required by North Dakota Century Code. Board members gave Dr. Dana Diesel Wallace an overall satisfactory rating.
Categories Wallace was evaluated on included overall performance; relationship with school board; her relationship with the community, government, parents, and students; business and finance; personnel management and staff development; facilities management; educational leadership; strategic planning; and goals. Board members were asked several questions in each category, with choices of 'satisfactory,' 'unsatisfactory,' or 'unable to evaluate.'
Tallied results for each of the nine categories included: Overall Performance - six Satisfactory ratings, and one Unsatisfactory; Relationship with the School Board - six Satisfactory; and one Unsatisfactory; Relationship with the Community, Government, Parents and Students - five Satisfactory ratings, and two Unable to Evaluate; Business and Finance - six Satisfactory; one Unable to Evaluate; Personnel Management and Staff Development - five Satisfactory; one Unsatisfactory, and one Unable to Evaluate; Facilities Management - six Satisfactory, and one Unable to Evaluate; Educational Leadership - seven Satisfactory ratings; Strategic Planning - seven Satisfactory ratings; and Goals - five Satisfactory ratings, and two Unable to Evaluate. The Unable to Evaluate ratings came from newer board members who felt they hadn't been on the board long enough to gauge the superintendent's performance in those categories.
Board members commended Wallace for her strong financial leadership. They also praised her strategic planning skills.
"I think the strategic plan, which Dana has worked so very hard to develop, is a living, breathing document. We rely on it continually," Nitzkorski said.
Wallace was also commended for her efforts to become more involved in the community. During last year's evaluation process, she had been criticized for not being active in the community or being approachable.
"I think you're a lot more visible than you used to be," Duane Hanson commented.
Wallace's involvement in the Metro Youth Initiative has led her to join forces with members of the West Fargo Chamber of Commerce and area businessmen in a student mentorship program to help area youth realize that their decisions can make a difference. The group is currently giving students the opportunity to help plan a new parade route for West Fest during the Main Avenue road construction project, and to consider options for a new community swimming pool.
Goal setting is one area added to this year's evaluation form that hasn't been there in the past. Many of the board members felt that once goals are set, it will be easier to monitor progress for next year's evaluation.
Board president Tom Gentzkow recommended that the board schedule a Committee of the Whole meeting to set goals, not only to help define the superintendent's job, but to set goals for the board members, as well.
During the regular board meeting, the board voted to begin advertising for bids for new furniture, equipment, and fixtures for the new kindergarten center in Osgood. They also approved an extended leave request for a special education coordinator in the district whose leave of absence would have expired with only a few weeks of the school year remaining. The extended leave will allow the students affected to continue the system that is now in place through the rest of the school year with less disruption to their schedule.
A visitation team will be in West Fargo to interview school board members on April 6, as part of the AdvanceEd school improvement process mandated by the state.
Plans were made for board members to meet with a realtor on Wednesday morning to tour possible building options available for future lease or purchase agreements to house district offices when Community High School students return to the Leidal Education Center next fall. However, with the impending blizzard, the tours will be rescheduled to a later date.
Sara Forness, a biology teacher at the West Fargo High School, made a presentation explaining two environmental projects her students have been working on. She outlined plans to plant fruit trees at the high school, with students learning how to prune and take care of the trees. She also commended Andrea Sluke, a senior, who recently won a grant through Planet Connect and the National Environmental Education Foundation. Sluke designed brochures to promote awareness of the impact of pharmaceutical residue levels in the Sheyenne River.
The next school board meeting will be held at South Elementary on March 23, at 6 p.m. The Future Buildings Advisory Group will meet on March 18 and March 25, at 6:30 p.m. in the Leidel Education Center boardroom.