Super is effective, board reports


“Effective” is the rating for Rome school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake’s performance in his second year on the job, according to the Board of Education’s evaluation for the 2017-18 school year that ended June 30.

The result was the second-highest among four rating levels, which from lowest to highest included “ineffective,” “developing,” “effective,” and “highly effective.”

It “probably is exactly where it should be” in terms of an overall rating, board President Paul Fitzpatrick said Friday. It was a composite of ratings submitted by board members, he said, noting that some may have indicated “highly effective” in certain categories while others may have indicated “developing,” for example.

The board has started the process of discussing a potential extension of Blake’s contract, said Fitzpatrick. Blake’s initial three-year contract is through June 30, 2019.

In addition, the board is in the process of discussing Blake’s compensation for the current 2018-19 school year, Fitzpatrick said. Blake’s current base salary is $162,000, the same as for his first year; he previously had requested that his 2017-18 salary not change from his 2016-17 amount.

Blake said Friday of his evaluation results that “as with any person in a professional setting, there are always things that are working well and areas that we can grow. The ‘effective’ rating is nice but it’s just a step along our path.”

Blake added “the evaluation, like teacher evaluations, is simply a tool that doesn’t completely reflect the job. Our true evaluation is where we stand relative to the past and moving forward. Until Rome is recognized statewide as one of the premier school districts in New York State, it doesn’t matter what an evaluation says, all of us working here have something to improve.”

His latest evaluation was conducted by board members who were in office through June 30, 2018, including Karen Fontana, who did not seek re-election to another term. Fitzpatrick said it also did not include former board member Timothy Safin, who resigned last spring after pleading guilty to falsifying business records. Also not taking part in the evaluation were new board members Leigh Loughran and Jonathon Matwijec-Walda, who assumed their seats on July 1.

The board has nine seats overall.

Among the primary rating categories for his evaluation, Blake was considered “effective” in all of them, said Fitzpatrick. They included relationship with the board; community relations; staff relationships; business and finance; instructional leadership.

Blake also received an overall “effective” rating regarding annual goals, although he was rated as “developing” in regard to a goal for “continued evolution of a paperless environment...including increased technology usage at levels,” said Fitzpatrick. He said Blake indicated “he has a ways to go” in that goal, but Fitzpatrick also observed the board recognizes “we’re making progress” and it is “one we’re still working on.”

The evaluation was conducted using a different evaluation system than prior years. The board last January decided to change to the “SuperEval” online system through the PLS 3rd Learning company.

The system includes input from each board member, plus the superintendent provides a self-evaluation with which members can agree or disagree and “give our own evaluation,” said Fitzpatrick. Board members opted to change to the system because they felt it would be easier to use than a previous one. Fitzpatrick cited “very positive comments from almost every board member” in using the system.


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