Superintendent Mark Porter has received a "C" grade for his first year on the job.
The first-year evaluation from the five members of the School Board, which was made public Friday, contained few surprises for observers of board meetings. It was scored on a 5-point scale, using a somewhat confusing rubric in which each member was able to award Porter a total score of up to 260 points.
For example, District 3 member Ed Davidson, who has been a consistent critic of Porter's hiring policies, was the hardest on the superintendent, handing him an overall score of 149, or "proficient," according to the scoring rubric.
At the other end of the scale, Vice Chairman Ron Martin, who has clashed openly with Davidson over the latter's frequent critiques of Porter, was the most generous with the superintendent, rating his performance 187, or "accomplished."
District 4's John Dick, who has been Davidson's closest ally on the board, was also fairly critical of Porter, scoring him a 160.
Board Chairman Andy Griffiths, who votes for Porter's policies more often than not, handed him a 161.
District 1's Robin Smith-Martin graded Porter a 171.9, while Porter rated himself a 172.
Davidson's comments were pointed, especially as regards Porter's relations with "special interests," "bubbas," and the "old guard insiders."
On the question of how well Porter has managed to "defend principles and convictions in the face of pressure and special interests," Davidson wrote: "It is the superintendent's worst weakness that he has proven repeatedly unable to do this!"
Dick agreed with Davidson, saying that the super "appears to be swayed at times by staff members that want to go back to the way it was."
Dick, Davidson and Smith-Martin were also critical on the area of labor relations, with Dick calling for a review of the collaborative bargaining process, and Smith-Martin writing, "It takes two to tango, and your partner doesn't seem to know how to dance."
On Friday, Porter said that while he was generally pleased with the results, it served as a reminder of what he needs to do in the future.
"[The evaluation] represents a fair, but certainly not glowing, evaluation of my performance to date, but for me it's more important to know where I'm not meeting the expectations of the individual board members, and also the consensus of the board," Porter said.
"There's probably no real surprises for me in the gradings, which I think is a good thing. It means I'm pretty much in tune with what the way the board thinks about a lot of these issues."
The labor issue, which has left district union workers without a contract after scores of collaborative bargaining sessions, is a concern, Porter allowed.
"That final category, of labor relations, is where there appears to be a bit of a philosophical diversion between the board and myself," he said.
"I know some members are expressing a bit of frustration at the lack of an outcome at this point."