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As mentioned in Wednesday’s blog, earlier this week I enjoyed a conversation with a superintendent from one of our partner school districts, Dr. Karen Schulte, superintendent of the School District of Janesville, Wisconsin. The purpose of the conversation was to connect with Dr. Schulte about the district’s implementation of evaluation measures, specifically the application and cascading of Evidence-Based Leadership in her school district. Below are highlights of our conversation. Data and performance decisions:

As the [School District of Janesville] continues through this process in year 3… [Evidence-Based Leadership] has changed how we look at things. We are data focused and data driven. All procedures and decisions that we make, we are sure to tie back to data. For example, we do a state-wide test every year; we were measuring one data point, but we were using no other data points for seeing how our students were achieving. We now understand the need to gather additional data points and do this quarterly across the district…

Schulte stated that leader evaluation measures are established at the beginning of each year using the Board of Education’s goals for the entire district. This involves dialogue between the superintendent and the Board when establishing the superintendent’s goals, and dialogue between the superintendent and her leadership team/cabinet and all school principals, respectively, when establishing their individual goals. That is, once the goals are established by the Board of Education they are then cascaded to develop superintendent goals, cabinet/director goals, and principal and vice-principal goals. By cascading goals through leadership evaluation measurements across the leadership team, a clear message is sent that the evaluation is not a “program of the month.” Nuances of the process:

Individuals in the leadership cabinet set their goals based on the district goals, but there are instances when the number of goals might be different; for example, finance might have more goals. This is okay! There are also conversations that occur in addition to the leader-superintendent conversations. For example, the middle school principals work together as there is some commonality across their schools.

Evaluations are based on leadership evaluation measurement goals. Bonuses are based on measurement scores. In my conversation with Dr. Schulte the importance of communication throughout the goal setting and leadership evaluation process was evident. Also evident was that the leadership evaluation measures are grounded in the district’s Standards of Professional Behavior and their “Journey to Excellence” foundational pillars of Service, Quality, People, Finance, Growth, and Health/Safety.



The School District of Janesville, Wisconsin, is a Blue Ribbon Award Winning School District. This is a recognition held by only 3% of the school districts in the nation. Four schools in the district (Adams, TAGOS, Lincoln, and Madison) are recognized as Wisconsin Schools of Promise. SDJ is committed to creating a great place for student s to learn and to create a better work environment for all employees. They have institutionalized leadership evaluation measurements and Evidence-Based Leadership to focus on increased student achievement based on data and measurable improvement. Visit them at http://www.janesville.k12.wi.us/Default.aspx, read about their Journey to Excellence, and check out the superintendent’s blog.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership.