School Board gives Supt. Smith above-average report card - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

School Board gives Supt. Smith above-average report card

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Rick Smith Rick Smith
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - For the third straight year, Hamilton County School Board members have given their Superintendent an "above average" report card.

According to scores released by Board Chairman Mike Evatt, Smith ranks highly for his choice of attire, his personal ethics, and communicating with his staff and the public.

At the lower end of the scale, Board members said Smith needs to improve on keeping them informed of personnel moves, clarifying his goals, and negotiating contract details with teachers.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5.00 as a perfect score.  Smith scored an overall 3.75, up slightly from his 2012 and 2013 scores.

District 1 representative Rhonda Thurman questioned the district's relationship with the Public Education Foundation, saying the organization has too much influence on principal selection and teacher training.  On most topics, she gave Smith average to above-average ratings.  District 2 representative Jonathan Welch was Smith's harshest critic, scoring him at 3.0.  "I hear news from parents and media first," Welch wrote, indicating a lack of communication.  "Our leadership pipeline is vague," he added.  Welch also wrote, "We do a poor job of pushing and celebrating our top ten percent schools."

Several Board members indicated that Smith does not keep them informed on personnel issues.  Both African-American members, George Ricks of District 4 and Jeffrey Wilson of District 5 gave Smith average marks.  Wilson scored Smith a "3" in almost all fifty categories, with no additional comments.  Ricks made few comments, but all were complimentary.  "He is well respected among his colleagues, and has strong support from local foundations and businesses," Ricks wrote.

Other Board members also had high praise for Smith.  District 6 representative Joe Galloway and Evatt awarded him highest marks, at 4.6 and 4.7, respectively.  Neither added any comments.   District 7 representative Donna Horn wrote, "He is a total cheerleader for Hamilton County Schools.  He does his homework."  Smith's current contract runs through 2016.

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