GovernanceCorner Practical tips from our MIG faculty

Aligning district goals through the superintendent evaluation
School district and county office of education boards can use summer as an opportunity to look ahead and prepare for next year’s superintendent evaluation cycle by finalizing the goals and success indicators on which the superintendent will be evaluated. The evaluation is a tool to align the superintendent’s goals with those of the district and its Local Control and Accountability Plan. Boards can use the superintendent evaluation as an important leadership tool to focus and align all district efforts, and an opportunity for the governance team to reflect and talk about where the district is going.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed much about the way schools and boards operate, boards should strive to use their usual procedures to the extent practicable to evaluate the superintendent, as described in the district’s Board Policy 2140 — Evaluation of the Superintendent — and in the superintendent’s contract. The evaluation should reflect the superintendent’s work throughout the year, including the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a governance team, you want to build an evaluation cycle that is all about focus, alignment and continuous improvement. The following are questions boards can ask to facilitate the evaluation process:

  • Have we reflected on our LCAP/district goals and used them to drive the superintendent goals, criteria and success indicators?
  • Have we asked the superintendent to prepare an evaluation packet for the board that includes a progress report toward district goals, the superintendent’s self-evaluation of accomplishments and performance, and a review of action taken to address recommendations of the board from the previous year?
  • Do we agree on priority areas and have we, with the superintendent, set goals for the coming year that the governance team believes reflect the top priorities of the LCAP/district goals?

Once the evaluation has been completed and reviewed, the full board should meet with the superintendent to discuss the evaluation. The meeting should be in closed session unless the superintendent requests that it occur in open session. The final evaluation should adopt a professional tone, noting both successes and areas where improvement is needed, as well as acknowledging goals that could not be reached due to unforeseen circumstances. It is important to create an atmosphere that enables the superintendent to express any concerns he or she may have regarding the respective roles and responsibilities of the board and superintendent. The superintendent should not be penalized or threatened for discussing this issue in a frank and open manner with the board at this time.

2020 and beyond printed on road timeline
CSBA’s Governance Consulting Services provides board development guidance, including services on superintendent evaluations. Evaluations are also covered in the Human Resource module in CSBA’s Masters in Governance courses, and additional resources can be found at If you would like more information about superintendent evaluations, please email