Hamilton County School Board members gave Superintendent Rick Smith his second solid evaluation in his two years on the job, and seem poised to reward him with a new four-year contract.
According to scores released by Board Chairman Mike Evatt, Smith ranks highly for his choice of attire, his personal ethics, and garnering support from the public.
At the lower end of the scale, Board members said Smith needs to improve on working with the media, delegating responsibilities, and seeking staff opinion on policies.
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5.00 as a perfect score. Smith scored an overall 3.74, up slightly from his 2012 score.
District 1 representative Rhonda Thurman questioned the district's selection of new principals, saying that Smith should be more involved in the process. She also commented, "There's too much emphasis placed on academics over an orderly school. No one can teach in chaos." On most topics, she gave Smith average to above-average ratings.
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 all fifty categories, with no additional comments.
But most of the Board had high praise for Smith. District 6 representative Joe Galloway wrote, "His overall leadership is consistently moving our school system forward." Chairman Evatt added, "I value the energy and sincerity he brings to work each day." And District 3 representative Greg Martin said, "Hamilton County is fortunate to have a leader who knows our system so thoroughly."
Smith's four-year contract, signed in 2011, pays him $160,000 a year, substantially less than the salary made by his predecessor, Dr. Jim Scales. Some Board members say Smith is underpaid, and plan to present a higher salary package before the June Board meeting.
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