NAUGATUCK – Superintendent of Schools has provided strong educational leadership, helped improve test scores and helped foster a solid working relationship with both the school board and municipal side of government.
That is the crux of a three-page performance evaluation given by the school board Thursday night to Tindall-Gibson, who has been head of the borough’s public schools since the fall of 2006.
“I think he’s been doing a great job for us,” said school board Chairman David Heller. “He's worked well with all town departments...Our administrative staff is wonderful at Tuttle. He’s formulated a great team at the high school and at our other buildings. We’re pleased with the way things are going in the district."
While the most recent performance evaluation could have been graded as an A or maybe A-, Tindall-Gibson’s experience in Naugatuck has not always been positive.
The 66-year-old Litchfield resident came under intense scrutiny in 2009 and early 2010 when the school board faced a projected budget shortfall of more than $1 million and threatened to lay off dozens of teachers and possibly close schools to make up the deficit. It was a tumultuous time in the district, and as the educational leader, Tindall-Gibson received the brunt of criticism. Several local leaders, including Mayor Bob Mezzo, called for him to step down; the school system’s teachers union also overwhelmingly voted no confidence in him in 2009, as did the Board of Mayor and Burgesses.
However, as time has passed, financial policy changes have been implemented and faces have changed on the school board – five of the nine board members were not there in 2009 – the Board of Ed. has seemingly gained a newfound respect for Tindall-Gibson.
Heller, who was on the board in 2009 but was not the chair, chalked up the new relationship to several factors, not the least of which is new personalities and leadership on the board. He also said Tindall-Gibson and Mezzo have worked hard to forge a positive working relationship for the betterment of the town. And he credited the superintendent for being able to move past tough times and stay focused on educational leadership.
“At the end of the day, we all have the same goals and objectives, and that is we want what is best for the district and the students,” he said.
Heller said all nine board members had input in the evaluation process, and that Tindall-Gibson’s self-evaluation mirrored what the board identified as his strengths and weaknesses.
The only criticisms were that the board wants to see Tindall-Gibson utilize technology more, including the school system’s website, to better communicate with the community. And board members want to see him visit schools a little more often.
The board was very pleased in Tindall-Gibson's help throughout the budget process and in getting the $81 million high school renovation proposal passed at referendum.
The superintendent has a contract that runs through June 30, 2013. The board has not discussed a contract extension with Tindall-Gibson at this point.
The board will start discussing those options within the next couple months, Heller said.
Tindall-Gibson said Thursday that he had not yet seen the performance evaluation and, therefore, did not comment about it.