At its March 19 meeting, the Independent School District #297 Board of Education chair, Aaron Solum, read a prepared statement regarding the summary of Superintendent Rachel Udstuen's evaluation last month.

"Overall, she had great responses with a few areas of growth identified. A lot of those areas stem from her being a new superintendent," he summed up.

In the 10 areas reviewed in her job performance, each board member was allowed to give their own critique and then the responses were compiled. Reponses could range from UA (Unable to Answer) to No. 5 (Outstanding Performance).

The evaluation summary stated, "Superintendent Udstuen meets or exceeds the expectations in all 10 areas of performance common to the position of superintendent."

A summary of the 10 areas included is listed below:

1) Provides leadership for the district's educational programs, staff development programs and curriculum development;

2) Informs and advises the board about programs, practices and problems of the district;

3) Explains the education needs of the district to the board, recommending necessary new or revised policies and staffing changes;

4) Acts as a liaison between the community and the district and responds to concerns of parents, students, citizens and staff;

5) Oversees all financial operations of the district;

6) Interprets employee proposals for the board and recommends adjustments to employee policies and salary structures;

7) Institutes and updates a comprehensive strategic planning process, district goals and instructional goals;

8) Establishes and maintains good relationships with agencies and personnel outside the district to promote the best interest of the district through contact with legislators, other superintendents, local governmental leaders and more;

9) Maintains and improves effective board-superintendent relations by periodically reviewing and upgrading performance through seminars and training sessions; and

10) Delegates responsibility and authority to district employees as appropriate, defines the authority and responsibility of mid-management staff, and effectively evaluates them.

Administrative wage increases approved

As per the three-year contracts signed with Superintendent Udstuen and Principal Nancy Gulbranson last year, a formal evaluation is required each year and is conducted in February.

Because of the favorable reviews for both staff members, the Administrative Negotiations Committee of Kristy Folz and Michelle Borrenson recommended the board approve the same terms as reached with the teachers union and other non-union staff of the district, a 4.5% one-time bonus for 2011-12 school year.

In addition, a proposed 3% salary increase for the 2012-13 year was also approved, although it was based upon a favorable review next February.

Board member Christian Myrah asked for clarification as to whether or not there would be any changes in the benefits package for either staff member?

It was clarified that just like the other staff, there is no change in vacation, insurance costs or other non-salaried benefits.

Folz pointed out that Gulbranson has not had a pay increase in six years. Udstuen hasn't had one in several years either, including her years previous to becoming superintendent.

Udtsuen added, "Depending upon how you look at it, Nancy's ITV (interactive television) classes bring in enough revenue to either pay for her entire teaching salary or the raise just approved."

Folz made the motion to approve seconded by Eric Bjerke, and the motion carried.

Other personnel news

In other personnel matters, a contract offer was approved for Robert "Harvey" Ekern of Brownsville to be the JV/assistant varsity softball coach for this year.



Editor's note: in last month's school board article titled "School board makes committee assignments", it was stated in the article that "although a summary report of the contents of closed sessions is required by statute, none has yet been supplied to the Herald."

It should be clarified that the state's open meeting law doesn't require the summary of a closed evaluation to be provided to the public until the next regular open meeting of the governing body.

The Herald didn't mean to infer that the board had not complied with law - as it has. We apologize for any confusion over the matter.