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Superintendent Shaw presented at conference in Chicago

Published: Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

MORRIS – Morris Elementary School District 54 Superintendent Teri Shaw was a key presenter at the annual Illinois Association of School Boards conference in Chicago in November.

This was the third year she has given presentation there titled, “Superintendent Evaluation: It’s All About District Goals,” according to a news release from District 54. The presentation illustrated how school board members work together to determine district goals.

Forming a strategic management plan builds a consensus among board members, allowing them to work together with all the facts and data on the table. The board engages in open conversations about the direction of the district on an annual basis. The board identifies and sets goals for the district, utilizing a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis.

These goals are set based on survey and data results along with the current internal and external realities. The goals fall into five categories: student development, fiscal responsibility, communication and community, staff management and curriculum. The process concludes with a strategic goal-setting session. The goals are used as a measuring tool, allowing the board to conduct a defined evaluation based on district achievements and the superintendent’s performance.

Shaw served on the District 54 School Board three years before being appointed to the position in 2008. Her background is in finance and business management. After receiving her master’s degree in business administration, she felt she could make a difference in her hometown school district. Shaw is anticipating finishing her doctorate degree in education leadership this spring.

“My children have grown up attending District 54 schools,” Shaw said in the news release. “I wanted to make a difference in my own community.”

For years now, the pipeline of superintendents in the United States has contained both traditional educators and those who have come from other backgrounds, said Kenneth Wong, a professor of education at Brown University, in the release. Many industries have been looking outside for leadership with strong management and financial backgrounds.

Jeff Cohn, Illinois Association of School Boards field services director supports Shaw’s program.

“Other boards across the state are modeling their process after District 54 and implementing the same evaluation process,” Cohn said in the release. “This program is supported by data and provides tools enabling the board to be on the same page as the superintendent.”

District 54 has been using this model for the past few years, and it has proved very beneficial.  

“The superintendent evaluation has allowed our board to work together and become even more effective,” Shaw said. “I am hopeful that this evaluation process will be adapted by more schools within the next few years.”

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