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James gets a positive evaluation from board

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Superintendent 'exceeds expectations' during third year in job

By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Carroll County Board of Education conferred a glowing evaluation onto Superintendent Lisa James at its Thursday, March 10, meeting.

The board voted unanimously to approve the evaluation in open session after reviewing the document with James in closed session.

James was evaluated on 52 specific points divided into seven categories: visionary leadership, instructional leadership, business and finance, relationship with the board, staff and personnel relationships, community relationships and personal qualities.

Each point was graded on a scale of 1-4, with 4 being “exceeds expectations”; 3, “meets expectations”; 2, “needs improvement”; and 1, “emergent – marginal performance/does not meet expectations.”
James was rated 4 on every single point.

“Ms. James is moving the district forward,” said board President Jennifer Beach. “The principals and teachers are working hard; she goes above and beyond our expectations, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

James is in her third year as superintendent in Carroll County. She was hired in July 2008 after then-Superintendent Carroll Yager retired from the post.

“The board is very pleased with our decision to hire Ms. James,” Beach said after the meeting last week. Most impressive, she said, is James’ knowledge of 2009’s Senate Bill 1, an overhaul of state education requirements intended to align with a national standard adopted by 48 other states.

James explained that the law, which became effective in summer 2010, requires districts to institute more rigorous assessment standards for teachers and students. Students must be fully prepared to enter college or be certified through vocational or technical programs to enter the workforce upon graduation.

One comment included in James’ evaluation document commended her for being “always on the cutting edge and looking toward the future,” in particular, commending her for including geometry in the curriculum at Carroll County Middle School and guiding Carroll County High School to add numerous classes to its curriculum offerings.

James also was commended for doing a “wonderful job keeping up with two renovation projects, while ensuring our district finances are accurate as well as sufficient for the future.”

The district is working to complete the renovation and expansion of Cartmell Elementary School and to add eight Head Start classrooms at Kathryn Winn Primary School. Both projects are expected to be completed by the beginning of the 2011-12 school year in August.

As for her work with staff and personnel relationships, the board commended James for ensuring central office staff be visible in the district. “This is a reflection of promoting loyalty to the district, as well as good delegation of duties.”

The board also stated that James is doing an outstanding job out in the community, noting in the evaluation: “The recent award the district received from the [Carroll County Community Development Commission] is an example of how relations in the community have improved since Mrs. James became our Superintendent.”

James explained that the CCCDC has partnered with the district to forge the “Carroll County Schools Championing a Vision for 2021” – a plan to bring the district into compliance with the state regulations by the 2021 deadline.

After the meeting, James said she is pleased with the evaluation. “I enjoy what I do. I have a job that creates opportunity every day. I’m very fortunate to have selected a career that I still love after 24 years.”