Haines Borough School Superintendent Michael Byer received an “excellent overall rating” following a closed-door, verbal evaluation Aug. 13 that lasted 105 minutes.

school board president Brenda Josephson said Byer’s rating was based on “satisfactory ratings in all areas of performance standards.”

The board cited areas for Byer to improve including teacher evaluations, budget development, and communications with parents and community members.

Josephson said concerns about teacher evaluations include a new way of evaluating teachers mandated by the state’s waiver from federal No Child Left Behind standards. school board members also want to see draft budgets earlier in the school year, she said. “We want the first draft in January. We want to be very conversant earlier (in the year). It’s a challenge because you’re doing your projections at the end of the year.”

Josephson said communication with parents and community members is “always a concern.”

“We want parents informed. We want parents involved. We want community people. We want to be open and communicative. One of the things is, we have been effective. We’ve done a lot of great things. But we haven’t been communicating a lot of the good stuff that’s been happening. What really engages the community is good, open communication,” she said.

Josephson released a 331-word “summary statement” of the evaluation, with all but about 16 words flattering of Byer’s performance.

It lists as “significant achievements”: Title One Distinguished Elementary School, Blue Ribbon High School nomination, State of Alaska Commendation for Student Achievement and Performance, and continuing improvement in student achievement. “Additionally, Mr. Byer personally received the Technology Leadership Award from the Alaska Society for Technology in Education.”

The school district discontinued written evaluations in 2010 after a Chilkat Valley News attorney argued that evaluations of superintendents were public information under state law. In 2011, the district started giving “verbal evaluations” in executive session and stopped providing a numerical score of the superintendent’s performance.

In 2011, when the board extended Byer’s contract through 2014, then-school board president Carol Kelly scored Byer an “A-minus” overall. But Josephson this week said the board no longer provides grades of superintendent achievement.

“There were several different points and it was satisfactory or unsatisfactory in all the different areas.”

She was asked that if Byer was satisfactory in all areas, how the evaluation qualified for executive session, as the closed-door meeting was held under an allowance “for subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of a person.”

“We didn’t know the results until we were into executive session,” Josephson said.

Josephson said the district no longer assigns a grade of the superintendent’s performance “because we’re continually improving our processes. This is a process that we had changed last year and it had worked very effectively, so we kept the same process this year as we had last year.”

Board member Anne Marie Palmieri said the evaluation included “some good, frank discussions” with Byer.

“As part of our evaluation, there were a couple of issues we agreed to as goals for the coming year. I think Michael is doing a really good job,” Palmieri said.