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Novi superintendent's board evaluation raises some eyebrows
November 14, 2016  FULL EVALUATION



NOVI, MI - The Novi Community Board of Education recently conducted their annual review of the Superintendent Steve Matthews' performance. Overall, the board gave Matthews a passing score of 2.72 on a 4.00 scale, down from 3.10 last year, using the following scale:

1 - Ineffective
2 - Minimally Effective
3 - Effective
4 - Highly Effective

A rating of 2.70 and above is considered effective, and generally considered necessary to retain the position.

Matthews highest marks came in the areas of concern for staff and evaluations, visibility, student attendance and business and finance. His lowest marks centered around parent / teacher / student feedback, inclusiveness, educational leadership and community relations.

More specifically, the board voiced concern, as evidenced by marginal to ineffective ratings, in these detailed categories:

  • Actively supporting group decision making
  • Following up with board members
  • Projecting a positive image of district
  • Seeking community input
  • Media relations
  • Business relations
  • Accepting suggestions
  • Personnel matters (ineffective)
  • Delegation
  • Recruitment
  • Accepting input for strategic planning
  • Alternative funding
  • Leadership image
  • Enthusiasm (ineffective)
  • Self-improvement
  • Focus on students
  • Implementing best practices
  • Responding to student/parent needs
  • Earning respect
  • Accepting criticism
  • Poise and composure
  • Self-control
  • Student concerns not actively surveyed
  • Teacher concerns not actively surveyed
  • Closing student achievement gap
  • Creating a program for retaining middle school students (ineffective)
  • Surveying former students & families (ineffective)
  • Customer service standards (ineffective)
  • Improving communication and addressing issues

The school board at the same time recognized strong performance by Matthews in several areas including:

  • Concern for staff
  • Visibility / building visits
  • Budget recommendations and reports
  • Facility management
  • Bond management (voter approval)
  • Demeanor
  • Teacher / administrator evaluations
  • Comprehensive school improvement plan
  • Student attendance
  • Graduation rate
  • Maintaining fund balance
  • Athletic department hiring
  • Hiring of marketing professional
  • Development of training matrix
  • Legislative updates for school board
  • Updating board on administrative evaluations

In response to the evaluation, Matthews stated, "I believe that I have done a good job in the district. Since 2011 key metrics in our district have improved. Our graduation rate has increased from 92% to 95%, and our dropout rate has decreased from 2.9% to 1.1%."

"Our performance on the M-STEP assessment continues to be strong. In grades 5, 8, and 11 we are number one in the county in science. I grades 4, 7, and 11 we are number one in the county in social studies. In grades 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8 we are number one in the county. In grades 3 - 8 in the county we are in the top four in English Language Arts even with an English Language Learning population of 17%," explained Matthews.

He also noted, "Our financial outlook is strong. Our class sizes are among the lowest in the county and state. Our bond proposal passed overwhelmingly in 2014 and we have delivered on the promises of the bond - new classrooms, a new high school fitness room, new technology. We now have a Multi-Tiered System of Support and a 504 process that we did not have when i arrived 6 years ago. e have Maker Space and Creativity Kits in each of our K-6 buildings." 

In conclusion, Matthews stated, "The evaluation rates me as effective. As stated, for the reasons listed above and for many additional reasons, I believe that I have done a good job in the district. The Board evaluates me. My responsibility is to work hard and to continue building a great school district. I am doing that and I think the evidence speaks that I am doing a good job."

The board members individually and collectively declined to comment on the evaluation.

The full evaluation is available online here.