Sequim School Board looks at Supt. evaluations

Gary Neal

Gary Neal

Sequim School District Board of Directors is looking into its yearly evaluations and assessments for superintendent Gary Neal.

The board met with Neal in an unannounced closed session before the Sequim School District Board of Directors regular meeting on Jan. 2 to check in with the superintendent about his evaluation process and to get new board members up to speed.

“How we are evaluating him over the last year has changed,” Board president Heather Short said.

“We’re trying to come up with a more formative assessment.”

Last July, board members approved a one-year contract extension for Neal to continue as the school district’s top administrator through 2020.

As with previous superintendents, Neal’s is a three-year contract that employs him through June 30, 2020, though the board, by contract, is required to discuss the superintendent’s performance and working relationship with the board twice per year. Neal’s salary for the 2017-2018 school year is $143,273.

After the board completes its evaluations and assessments, it could decide to roll over Neal’s contract to 2021 by Feb. 1 or wait until the Board’s final deadline of June 30 to make that decision.

“February 1 is the date to decide whether to roll over the contract to add that extra year,” Short said.

“If we don’t roll it over and we go through June and we decide not to then he has two years left.”

Short said due to the possible changes in how the board may assess Neal and the holidays, it could wait until the evaluation changes are done, but it might exceed the upcoming tentative deadline of Feb. 1. However, Short said the board could vote to roll over Neal’s contract at any time.

“Some of these assessments we are planning on undertaking are going to take longer than what we can do by Feb. 1,” Short said.

Short said the Board makes its assessment of a superintendent based on the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WASDA) framework for evaluations, but she noted the Board wants to try to come up with a way to do this with more metrics.

The school board’s next meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 22, at the District Office boardroom, 503 N. Sequim Ave., where the board will make a decision to roll over Neal’s contract or wait for the final deadline in June.

Neal said he hopes for an extension to see the district’s capital projects through and stay with Sequim Schools.

“I want to stay here and get these things done,” Neal said.

“I have a vision of giving these kids the best infrastructure in education they should have,” he said.

“Those levies were built on the idea that they are three years which coincides with my contract.”

Neal was Sequim’s assistant superintendent in 2014-2015, promoted as interim superintendent in May 2015, and saw the interim part of his title removed in November 2015.

Neal was principal of West Valley High School in Spokane from 2006-2014.

He has a superintendent’s certificate from Washington State University and a master’s degree in administration and curriculum from Gonzaga University.

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