School board gives superintendent good grades

Naugatuck Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson received a good evaluation from the Board of Education for his performance last school year.

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education Thursday approved a glowing evaluation of Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson‘s performance last school year.

“As superintendent, Dr. Tindall-Gibson has provided strong leadership in implementing the school district’s vision, mission and goals,” wrote David M. Heller, chair of the school board.

The school board found 21 things to praise about Tindall-Gibson, including his involvement in the $81 million high school renovation project. The board credited Tindall-Gibson with creating a new leadership team that includes Assistant Superintendent Brigitte Crispino, new high school Principal Janice Saam and Eileen Mezzo, the high school’s new associate principal.

He also helped hire John Lawlor as human resource director for the school board and borough, reorganize the business office and hire the same legal firm that the borough uses.

Board members and administrators also said Tindall-Gibson had administered the budget using “sound business and fiscal practices” and did a good job explaining the school system’s needs to the Finance Board and Board of Mayor and Burgesses.

The board described its working relationship with Tindall-Gibson as a good one.

“The superintendent has always displayed a very professional demeanor and appearance as the educational leader of the Naugatuck community,” Heller wrote.

The board also listed five ways in which Tindall-Gibson could improve, all focused on communication. Members requested he interact more with the community, particularly through the district’s website, and suggested he communicate more with board members and district staff. They also encouraged him to visit schools more often.

Although Heller wrote the consensus summaries, they were crafted with feedback from district administrators and all nine board members. Tindall-Gibson had no comment Thursday, saying he had not yet read the document.

The evaluation is a marked change from two years ago, when board members were sharply divided in their opinions of Tindall-Gibson. As the school system faced a $1 million shortfall for the second year in a row, some blamed Tindall-Gibson, saying he failed to act when concerns were raised in the business office.

Since then, the board has elected five new members and an entirely new leadership team. Tindall-Gibson received a positive review last year as well, Heller said.

The good review will not mean a raise this year for Tindall-Gibson, who is working until June on a one-year contract extension that stipulated his pay remain the same. He earns about $165,000 annually, including fringe benefits.