CROWN POINT | Most school superintendents across Indiana are evaluated annually, and a new statute makes that a requirement.
Frank Bush, executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association, said prior to the law's going into effect in July, there was no specific law regarding annual evaluations for superintendents.
However, most school boards placed language into the contracts requiring an annual superintendent evaluation, he said.
"Superintendents normally get a three-year deal," he said, noting five-year deals are rare and happen only if a board likes a person's skill set.
Crown Point Superintendent Teresa Eineman appears to be the rare superintendent in Northwest Indiana with a five-year contract -- but she has never been evaluated by the school board.
Eineman became superintendent in April 2006, with a starting salary of $135,382, and signed an unprecedented five-year contract from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2012.
Over the summer, Eineman signed a new five-year deal that goes to June 30, 2017. The school corporation pays her a salary of $155,410. It grows to nearly $200,000 when perks are added such as a tax-deferred annuity, membership and dues to educational organizations, automobile allowance and other benefits.
In Eineman's contract, a paragraph titled "Evaluation and Renewal" says the board shall at least annually review the superintendent's performance, "at such times as shall be reasonable and agreed upon by the board and the superintendent." It says the evaluation will be in writing.
Crown Point School Board President Scott Angel said, however, "no evaluations have been performed on the superintendent."
Angel said the board is in the process of proposing a "mutually" agreed upon evaluation.
"We have no reason to evaluate her because of how the school corporation is doing," Angel said. "There have been a couple of changes on the board but, as a group, we haven't looked into pursuing the evaluation process."
Angel said Eineman receives raises based on how students in the corporation are performing.
"If you look at her agreement and what she is responsible for and how the entire school corporation is running," he said.
Eineman could not be reached by phone for comment.
In an email to The Times, she wrote, "My evaluation takes place each and every single day with my work for the families of (the) Crown Point Community School Corp."
Angel said conducting an evaluation is not as easy as it sounds. He said he has several evaluation samples, but the board and superintendent have not agreed on any of them.
He said he expects to have a superintendent evaluation instrument ready in a few months as required by state law.
Process in other districts
As part of a state law that went into effect July 1, school districts were required to post the contracts for “all Certified Administrators” on their website. In addition to the contracts, all supplemental contracts also must be posted. The law also calls for the teacher agreement to be on the website.
Former Lake Central School Board President George Baranowski said his district performs an annual evaluation of the superintendent, and he believes most school districts do the same thing.
Portage School Board member Cheryl Oprisko said they have always performed an annual evaluation of the superintendent but did not do it in last year when the superintendent retired.
"Now it's state law, and we have to evaluate the superintendent. Our new superintendent began July 1, and I know we will be evaluating him next year," she said.
Hebron Superintendent George Letz said his board evaluates him every June.
"I believe it's in my contract that I will be evaluated annually," he said. "I don't always know how other people are being evaluated, but I'd say it's rare that a superintendent has never been evaluated."
Rick Lowe, president of the Lake Ridge School Board, said they conduct an annual evaluation of the school superintendent, and use that to determine if her contract will be extended.
"With the new law, we're going to change the evaluation from the end of the year to the summer or fall. We're looking at the evaluation instrument the state recommended and working with the superintendent to develop a new instrument," he said.
Hammond School Board President Deborah White said the board conducts an annual evaluation of the superintendent.
"This year, it will be based on the evaluation rubric the state recommends, but we've always done an annual evaluation," she said.
Merrillville School Board member Thomas Bainbridge said the board has always done an annual evaluation of the superintendent.
"It's a tool for going forward. We learn from our mistakes," Bainbridge said. "We evaluate all of our programs and the superintendent. An evaluation is good, allowing you to see where we have been and where we need to go."
Mark Maassel, president of the Valparaiso Community School Board, said it also evaluates its superintendent every year.
It appointed Mike Berta, former Portage superintendent, to a one-year contract a few months ago.
"Mike signed a one-year contract with an option to renew. If he is here more than a year, we will chat about where he sees things and where we see them, sometime next spring," Maassel said.