Superintendent Responds to Evaluation
By Michael McInnis Staff Reporter · September 23, 2011
School Superintendent, Robert Tremblay, fulfilled the next step in his annual evaluation process by presenting the board with his written response, at the September 15 School Board meeting.
"I've never viewed myself as an average or 'C' student," Tremblay reiterated, referring to the 'C'- equivalent rating the Committee gave his past-year performance as Superintendent. "So," he continued, "my first goal is to perform at a higher level than a 'C'."
Tremblay said he respects the evaluations, which reflect both the individual and collective voice of the Committee. He assured them his response was the result of "a lot of reflection" and not simply "an appeasing of what was presented to me ... I have an expectation of myself to help every student in the Milford schools to achieve their best."
One area of concern was an excessive delegation of duties, especially involving curriculum matters. "This will change," the Superintendent vowed. "I will have first-hand experience when it comes to ... curriculum instruction. When presentations (are made) on curriculum instruction, I will be leading those conversations, asking for input from those supervisors and not relying on them to do those presentations, solely."
Prior to addressing the other areas marked as needing improvement, Tremblay discussed several projects in the planning stages, such as a Greenhouse initiative and the possible restoration of the North Purchase district schoolhouse, which he deemed important community projects.
While not diminishing their importance, School Committee Chairperson, Loriann Baranauskas, said these were exactly the kind of projects that should be delegated. "We have to be focusing on the day-to-day education at K through 12," she admonished.
Tremblay returning to the subject of specific goals, informed the Board he has set a schedule to meet with school Principals weekly, exceeding the Board's "once-a-month" recommendation. Though some meetings had taken place, Tremblay expressed surprise at learning, earlier in the evening, of a computer problem at Middle School East. "I just met with the Principal and I didn't get that," he noted.
School Committee member, Patrick Kennelly, used the incident as an example of how Tremblay might need to adjust his approach to obtaining information. "I don't think you're asking the right questions," Kennelly surmised. He also assured the Superintendent that the School Committee had no desire to be "micro-managers" but "we want to be assured that when issues come up, they've been resolved."
Board member Michael Walsh agreed, suggesting that Tremblay be more forceful in carrying out his management duties. "You've got to go out there and show them you're a leader ... you're the guy. You're the Superintendent of Schools. You do a great job, just get better."
Kennelly said while he felt the Superintendent did not fully embrace the Committee's review, as telegraphed through "body-language", on September 1, "today you seem more genuine that this is what needs to happen." He added, "We do believe in you. It's not a question of trying to dismiss you. It's a question of somewhere you got fractured and we had to put you back right, and that's what we did. As hard as it was for you to, perhaps, hear it and process it, it was equally hard for all of us. We looked back and reflected on other evaluations and said 'he's not understanding what we're saying'."
"I think what (Kennelly is) trying to articulate," Baranauskas clarified, "is that some of these same comments were articulated previously, in either previous reviews, verbally, or in other ways." She noted that it wasn't easy to be constructive in such a public way" but that the Committee is bound by Open Meeting laws and ethical responsibility as School Committee members".
Tremblay nodded his understanding and voiced his appreciation and pride in "being allowed to lead the Milford public schools." He added, "Although I'm not so proud of recent headlines. This, too, shall change and pass with (the) solid work ethic, which you have told me I have."