School Board members turn in Thompson's evaluations: Much room to improve

Collier County Superintendent Dennis Thompson speaks before the school board about privatizing the cleaning of Collier County School eliminating around 250 jobs. Greg Kahn/Staff

Photo by GREG KAHN, Daily News

Collier County Superintendent Dennis Thompson speaks before the school board about privatizing the cleaning of Collier County School eliminating around 250 jobs. Greg Kahn/Staff

The School Board is calling a special meeting for 2 p.m. Thursday before the superintendent's evaluation begins to finalize a contract with their personal board attorney.

Superintendent Dennis Thompson’s evaluation begins at 3 p.m. Thursday in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Administrative Center, 5775 Osceola Trail.

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— Collier County students have gotten their report cards, and now it is time for Superintendent Dennis Thompson to get his.

It’s not going to be a good report card, based on School Board members’ written reviews obtained Wednesday by the Daily News through a public records request.

Thompson has done a few things that have exceeded the board’s expectations, but overall the board members think there is much room for him to improve, according to the School Board members’ evaluation documents.

The Collier County School Board will host their superintendent evaluation workshop from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. At 2 p.m., board members are to consider approving a contract with an attorney to represent them during their evaluation of Thompson.

The Naples Daily News and naplesnews.com will be conducting a live video stream and live chat of Superintendent Dennis Thompson’s evaluation Thursday, Aug. 12.

Of the 35 goals the district had available data to measure, Thompson gave himself an 86 percent of meeting or exceeding those goals. In contrast, he earned a 68 percent by the School Board’s standards.

Among the goals, Thompson was praised for putting a strategic plan in place and working hard with stakeholders from the community and district to get the plan in place.

“The Superintendent, community and Collaborative Communications did a great job,” board member Steve Donovan wrote.

Board members also noticed that the superintendent had made significant strides to increase his presence in the Collier County schools community, but fell short of improving communication with the community.

“The most common complaint I get from stakeholders has to do with the lack of communication,” wrote School Board Vice Chairwoman Julie Sprague. “The district has endured several disruptions this year ... due to poor communication. This lack of internal and external communication has caused the district great distraction from the important work that we do and the achievements we have made.”

Overall, three board members found that the superintendent was performing unsatisfactorily or needed improvement. One board member said the superintendent met expectations, according to the evaluation documents.

Some board members didn’t rate individual objectives and/or give an overall summary rating, according to the documents.

According to Joe Abalos, executive director of planning and accountability, board Chairwoman Kathleen Curatolo didn’t give the superintendent an overall summary rating for the goals and Sprague didn’t give individual ratings for each goal/objective.

When it came to the summary of professional standards, the School Board rated Thompson at “met” or “exceeded” his professional standards 46 percent of the time.

The other 54 percent of his professional standards were “needs improvement” or “unsatisfactory.”

Professional standards include factors such as leadership and district culture; policy and governance; and resource management.

Under policy and governance, in which Thompson got three votes for needing improvement and two for meeting expectations, Sprague said she was troubled that she meets with Thompson weekly, but is often caught off-guard when confronted by the public about an issue like middle school homework or personnel decisions.

That got back to communications and community relations, where all five board members rated Thompson as unsatisfactory or needing improvement.

Roy Terry

Roy Terry

"The problem is that there continues to be a huge disconnect between the majority of the people in the community and the Superintendent. The problem is the ability to listen to ideas. The Superintendent is pretty well set in what he believes and is not open to the ideas of others,” board member Roy Terry wrote.

“The Superintendent has made an honest attempt to reach out to the community ... The problem is that there continues to be a huge disconnect between the majority of the people in the community and the Superintendent. The problem is the ability to listen to ideas. The Superintendent is pretty well set in what he believes and is not open to the ideas of others,” board member Roy Terry wrote.

Board members, however, praised Thompson for resource management, with the majority of board members — three — agreeing that he met or exceeded expectations.

“The Superintendent has done an excellent job of fiscal management and working with the budget. Some would suggest he has done it on the shoulders of District Employees, but no matter how you see it the facts are the District is in good shape compared to other Districts,” Terry wrote.

Thompson’s performance in his evaluation will determine whether his contract, which is set to expire next year, can be extended for one year. The Collier County School Board has until Aug. 30 to decide whether to give Thompson an extension, according to his contract.

The meeting for the superintendent’s evaluation will be in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Administrative Center, 5775 Osceola Trail.

__ Connect with reporter Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.

© 2010 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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