Survey: Superintendent ‘meeting expectations’

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

The superintendent of Clovis Municipal Schools is meeting the expectations of her staff, according to a survey released to the Clovis News Journal last week.

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm was given the equivalent of a ‘C- ’ from staff members in overall effectiveness, according to a summary of the survey findings provided by Clovis schools administration.

Conducted in February at the request of Seidenwurm, the survey rated the superintendent in 21 categories. Those surveyed were given four ways to respond to questions about the superintendent’s performance: Exceeds expectations, meets expectations, needs improvement, or insufficient knowledge to make a decision.

About 67 percent of the staff responded to the survey. The majority of those who responded — 68 percent — were certified staff members, according to the administration survey summary.

“In your first year, when you have to make tough choices, it is always nice to know you are still meeting expectations,” Seidenwurm said.

She was selected superintendent by the school board last summer and has served in the position for nearly 11 months. Faced with a funding shortfall due to state-mandated salary increases for school staff, Seidenwurm proposed a series of cost-cutting measures which met criticism from some teachers and students. Under her direction, Bella Vista Elementary and Lincoln-Jackson Arts Academy will merge and the Clovis High School will revert to the traditional, six-period day beginning next school year.

The staff at schools directly affected by the cost-cutting measures rated the superintendent significantly lower than staff at schools not directly affected by the measures, Seidenwurm said.

“People who were most involved with the changes were less happy,” Seidenwurm said.

A few Clovis teachers paused to write comments about the superintendent, the superintendent said. Those comments were the most helpful, she said.

“They gave me something specific to think about,” she said. “It was good food for thought,” and action, she said.

One comment — which alleged Seidenwurm was “not doing enough to get around campuses,” according to Seidenwurm — spurred her to focus more on improving in that area, Seidenwurm said. She said she would try harder to visit more teachers.

Yucca Junior High School family and consumer science teacher Amy Garcia said it was difficult for her to gauge the superintendent’s performance.

“I really haven’t had a whole lot of contact with her,” Garcia said. “But she seems to be very likable and she is trying to work hard for the school district.”

In January, school board members completed their own survey of Seidenwurm’s performance. They showered the superintendent the equivalent of ‘A’s and ‘B’s.

Rating system
Exceeds expectations: 3
Meets expectations: 2
Needs improvement: 1
Insufficient knowledge to make a decision: Not rated

Average Ratings by Category
Attitude toward work: 2.27
Effectiveness as a person: 2.16
Effectiveness with community: 2.11
Effectiveness with employees: 2.06
Overall rating of the superintendent: 2.14

Areas in which superintendent received the highest scores:
• Demonstrates genuine concern that the district be the best it can be
• Appears to enjoy the position
• Demonstrates leadership in decision making
• Maintains a professional attitude and approach to the job

Areas in which the superintendent received the lowest scores:
• Established rapport with the district staff
• Tries to understand the role and problems of the individual
• Tries to do what is best for students