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Superintendent gets high marks in evaluation

The School Board gave Superintendent Juli Di Chiro high marks in her annual evaluation, awarding her with a 3.75 grade point average for the past school year.

"Overall there is no other person we would rather have steering the ship of our schools during good times or bad," reads the evaluation, which Board Chair Mat Marr presented at a School Board meeting Monday night.

Using input from five district administrators, the board rated the superintendent in six areas.

Di Chiro scored a 4.0, which equates to an A-plus or 100 percent, in three categories: Shared Education Vision, Budget, Finance & Facilities Management and Policy and Governance.

"Thanks to Juli Di Chiro and the exceptional staff at all our schools, Ashland School District provides students of all levels and abilities with an outstanding educational experience," the evaluation reads. "Our record low dropout rate and high matriculation rate is a tribute to her leadership."

In three other categories, Human Resources & Labor Management, Instructional Leadership and Communications & Community Relations, she received a 3.5, which equates to an A-minus or 90 percent.

The board also weighed in on the conflict involving the firing of Bellview Elementary School Principal Christine McCollom.

Many were angry that McCollom was let go after Di Chiro and another administrator drew lots in the superintendent's office — with no witnesses present — to see which principal the district would layoff. Di Chiro, who is on vacation until July 6, could not be reached for comment.

Initially, Di Chiro decided McCollom would be laid off, but, days later, she realized the principal's contract had a provision requiring the drawing of lots to determine layoffs such as the one the district was about to make.

"We appreciate that Juli publicly acknowledged the error she made by failing to consult the contract before announcing an administrative reduction," the evaluation states. "We commend her for correcting that process, and we understand that in the future that mistake will not be made again."

The board also commended Di Chiro for being named Oregon Superintendent of the Year for 2009 and for guiding the district through the state's budget crisis.

"Juli's DiChiro's passion, experience, dedication and hard work are part of the reasons we are confident our district will come through the state's funding crisis stronger than ever," the evaluation states.

To read the full text of the evaluation summary, log on to www.dailytidings.com.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or hguzik@westmont.edu.