Willoughby Gets Support from School Board in Latest Evaluation

January 11, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Midway through his three year contract, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby appears to continue to have strong backing from the Board of Education.

The board conducted it's annual evaluation of the Director's performance on Tuesday, as well as a self evaluation, and Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins III says Willoughby passed with flying colors.

Evins addressed the issue during Thursday night's school board meeting. "On Tuesday, the board in a workshop, as we do every year, did a self evaluation of the board. That's a way, an instrument of evaluating ourselves to look and see what we have accomplished versus what we should accomplish and there's no A's or B's it's just a matter of looking at what you have done and what you need to do and try to move forward with that. We also did our yearly evaluation of the Director of Schools and it was the consensus of the board that Mr. Willoughby has done what's been expected of him and furthermore done more than what's been expected of him and we're very pleased. I feel like we've had a productive year and the evaluations from the board in essence shows that Mr. Willoughby has gone beyond his call of duty to take his position and try to move things to a new level and we appreciate that."

Willoughby, later in the meeting, expressed his appreciation to the board. "I really appreciate the positive evaluation, but if it wasn't for the people that surround me and make me look good it wouldn't have been a positive evaluation so I want to say thank you to all those people that work hard to make me look good. It's not me but it's the people around me who help me out. I go to them and ask them a lot of questions. We've got a lot of excellent employees in our school system and I'm just really thankful to be working with such a professional staff, they're wonderful."

Willoughby's employment contract, which began July 1st, 2006, is for three years with his salary being reviewed by the Board each year. According to the approved contract, "The Board shall pay the Director an annual compensation of $77,500 in twelve equal monthly installments in accordance with Board policy and any additional state or local increases. The Board will review the Director's salary annually and the Board will increase the salary of the Director during the term of this contract each time an annual evaluation reflects that the Director has exceeded the expectations of the Board as follows: second year, a five percent increase and the third year, a three percent increase."

Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel during the meeting Thursday night.

Stevie Cripps has been employed as a substitute custodian.

Larry Johnson has retired as Materials Supervisor

The following employees have been granted a leave of absence as requested, Julie Pugh, an educational assistant at DeKalb Middle School; Sabrina Kirksey, a teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Marla Beshearse, a teacher at Northside Elementary School; and Penny Bilyeu, teacher at Smithville Elementary School.

Willoughby also updated the school board on the progress of the Freshman Academy. "I know there were some questions when we started this and a lot of hard work has gone into it and I praise the high school for that. I think the number of students not passing this year compared to last year with the freshman class is over a 50% improvement and I take my hat off to them, they've done an excellent job. Last year in the fall we had twenty students that had made two "F's" on their report cards for the semester. At this time, we don't have any freshmen students that have made two "F's" so that is a big improvement and the number of students that have made any "F's" is down at least 50%."

The board awarded bids on the sale of surplus property. The Mid South Bus Center of Murfreesboro was awarded bids to purchase two 1995 Model Blue Bird Busses for $2,877 each; Dean Johnson was awarded a bid to buy a 1994 John Deere 72 inch cut mower for $207; and Eddie Driver got the bid to purchase a Sanborn Blackmax 5 horsepower two stage air compressor 80 gallon tank for $102.

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