Superintendent earns good grade

Performance evaluation comes with 2.5% raise

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke. –FILE PHOTO

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — Superintendent of Schools Sharon Locke’s second year at the helm of Naugatuck public schools has been a positive one, according to her latest evaluation.

“Superintendent Locke’s performance balances between effective and exemplary. Superintendent Locke has developed an effective leadership style that produces high-quality instruction within our district,” her performance evaluation, which was approved by the Board of Education last week, states.

The board also approved a 2.5 percent raise for Locke, bringing her salary to about $165,000.

Locke’s performance was evaluated in five “strategic priorities” outlined in the district’s strategic plan: sharing an inspiring district vision with a coherent strategic plan; growing a rigorous academic program with a focus on continuous improvement of teaching and learning; creating a safe, welcoming and respectful environment in the schools; creating an organizational system that supports teaching and learning; family and community engagement.

She was rated on a scale of 1 to 4 in four categories: performance rating from board members; student learning outcomes; school goals, attendance and discipline; feedback from surveys. Overall, she received a score of 3.4 out of 4.

“I think that Sharon is doing a great job. She has done a lot in this community in a very short time,” Board of Education Chairman Dorothy Neth-Kunin said.

Locke was hired two years ago to replace former Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson, who retired. She was the assistant superintendent for New Britain public schools at the time.

“The two years with the district have been fabulous. The community has been welcoming. We are doing great work in our schools, students results are up, satisfaction is up. It has been a great two years,” Locke said.

The evaluation makes it clear that district officials are pleased with having Locke in charge.

The evaluation states Locke “is fiscally responsible and ensures that all departments follow the same [principles] when it comes to budget preparation …” The evaluation points to the 2016-17 school budget, which didn’t increase spending, to back this up.

The evaluation also points to changes made to the math curriculum under Locke’s guidance that led to math scores improving 10.8 percent in the district from the fall of 2015 to the spring of 2016.

Locke said she plans to continue that curriculum and expand it to other areas, such as English.

“We are going to continue our focus next year on math instruction. It will be year two of a program that we saw great results from,” Locke said.

The evaluation also cites the consolidated approach taken to Naugatuck’s School Readiness, Head Start and preschool programs for greater efficiency, and the development of a “mobile cabinet” to focus on management and individual school needs.

“She developed this mobile cabinet, which I think is a phenomenal idea. They go from school to school, and they work with the management of the schools and identify what the schools need. It is better than just staying here,” Neth-Kunin said.

Neth-Kunin didn’t specify any areas the board wants to see Locke improve on in the future. She said the goals the board has for Locke are fluid and are continuously being updated or adjusted to reflect what is happening in the district.

“I think she is doing a really great job,” Neth-Kunin said. “She really goes the extra mile to make sure the students get what they need.”