July 19, 2012 | Volume 42, No. 29

Byer receives "excellent' from boatd

Haines Borough school superintendent Michael Byer received a nearly perfect score from school board members during his annual evaluation June 28.

The five-paragraph summary of Byer’s verbal evaluation, released by the board this week, said the board agreed on an “overall rating of excellent.”

The summary, penned by school board president Carol Kelly, contains an almost exclusively flattering description of Byer’s performance, including “strong and highly regarded leadership,” and a “supportive, open attitude,”

Byer is described as “approachable, professional and knowledgeable.” “His leadership has set the tone for the district, and in examining scores and other data, it is apparent the district is doing its job, indicating the leader is effective,” Kelly wrote.

According to the summary, the board and Byer agreed that areas for Byer’s continued improvement “involve the budget process and financial control.”

Each board member was given a six-page evaluation form to fill out and was asked to rank Byer as “excellent,” “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” against six standards including vision, sustaining a school culture and programs conducive to learning, managing finance and personnel, responsiveness to community and parents, ethics, and communication.

Evaluations were discussed in an executive session with Byer and individual forms completed by board members were not made public.

Kelly’s narrative summary didn’t directly reference “three significant job targets and measurable outcomes to be accomplished by (Byer) in the next 12 months,” as identified in the evaluation forms distributed to board members.

Board member Anne Marie Palmieri, who serves as board spokesperson, said she believed the three “job targets and measurable outcomes” include school budgeting, providing timely information to board members, and accounting measures Byer was asked to follow.

“The board has a very favorable view of the job Michael’s doing so far,” Palmieri said. She said the verbal evaluation process was “a very open and productive discussion.

It wasn’t clear this week whether the board would meet to approve Kelly’s summary of the evaluation. Byer is out of town this month on vacation. He earns $105,000 per year on a contract that continues through 2014.

The board has given Byer verbal evaluations and has not scored him on a numerical scale since the Chilkat Valley News in 2010 hired an attorney to make the written evaluation public.