By Jim Newell
Superintendent Marion Ginopolis received a “highly effective” rating from the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education members in her annual performance review, presented at the board’s Dec. 14 meeting.
The evaluation represents Ginopolis’s performance over the 2015-16 school year and is “based on the district’s strategic Goals and Objectives,” wrote board President Scott Taylor in a Nov. 16 summary letter of the evaluation results and process.
“I was very happy (with the evaluation results). And it’s not just me, it’s reflective of the district and staff,” said Ginopolis, who has been superintendent for six years.
The system the board used to rate Ginopolis’s performance is based on a four-point scale, ranging from ineffective, minimally effective, effective to highly effective, Taylor said. The rating tool specified five areas to be evaluated: results, leadership, system alignment, processes and capacity building.
“The results dictate that the overall rating is an accurate representation of the observations, experiences and feelings of the majority of the board,” Taylor wrote. “The findings show that the majority of the board rates Marion as a Highly Effective Superintendent overall.”
The process began in Sept. 2015 when initial goals were established. In March 2016, an evaluation committee, comprised of three board members, met to discuss goals, objectives and the evaluation tool to be used, Taylor said.
The State of Michigan mandated that the district use an electronic rating system. Lake Orion used the School Advanced evaluation tool.
This September, Ginopolis met in closed session with the board to present her evidence proving “the completion and progress for each evaluation criteria,” Taylor wrote.
Board members met in closed session in October to question Ginopolis before submitting their evaluations online in late October, with the results presented to the board and Ginopolis in another closed session Nov. 16.
“I like the process, that we do set our goals early in the year, and then provide evidence for the achievement of each goal,” Ginopolis said. “And it isn’t just me: certainly, if we have a finance goal, the finance department is involved in that (rating).
“Then I provide the board evidence, we talk about it and then make a decision on whether it has been achieved or not. And then the compilation of all of that determines the rating, which is highly effective,” she said.
Ginopolis said she has an “outstanding” relationship with the board: “And believe me that is not common in a lot of school districts. We’re very blessed.”
“There are differing opinions, but what I value most about this board; they’re very respectful of one another,” Ginopolis said. “And when a majority makes a decision they all support it, even if it was not your position, initially. So, it’s just not a contentious board in any way. I wouldn’t have stayed this long if it were any different.”
Ginopolis said she is compelled to stay at Lake Orion schools “Because I love it, I love kids.”
When she called a snow day Dec. 12, one of the methods she used to reach parents and students was Twitter. Kids commented, sending back Tweets thanking her for the snow day.
One girl, offkey and clearly appreciative, Tweeted back a video message, singing “Hallelujah, hallelujah” and then blew a kiss.
“That’s why I stay, because kids are just the best,” Ginopolis said. “I stay because I love kids, I feel that I’m making a difference, that I am adding value to the district and I enjoy it.”
By Jim Newell