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Twinsburg -- The annual evaluations for Twinsburg City School District superintendent Kathryn Powers and treasurer Martin Aho demonstrate confidence in their leadership, according to Board of Education members.
Powers' 5-page evaluation covers vision, continuous improvement and focus on district work; communication and collaboration; policy and governance; instruction; and resources.
Aho's 3-page evaluation was graded on leadership; financial management; facilities; communication and collaboration; and professionalism.
Board of Education President Rob Felber said the June 30 evaluations represent one of two the Board does each year for administrators. No raises were given as a result.
Overall, the Board rated Powers' work as "extraordinary."
"Superintendent Powers continues to provide extraordinary leadership for our school system," the evaluation states. "The Board appreciates the manner in which she clarifies and promotes the district's vision, and it values her dedicated attention to detail as she leads the Twinsburg Continuous Improvement Plan."
Board members pointed to the implementation of the Beech Brook school-based program that makes social workers accessible to students during -- and in some cases, after or before -- the school day.
Amanda Nowak, one of the professionals who works with students, told the Board during a Sept. 7 meeting that 261 students were referred to the program for help with, among other needs, anxiety, depression, ADHD, grief, trouble with peer relationships and autism during the 2015-16 school year.
The Board praised Powers for using Beech Brook, a Cleveland behavioral health agency, to "meet the mental and emotional needs of our students."
As an example of Power's communication and collaboration skills, the Board pointed to supplemental information she provided via a televised Board meeting earlier this year to reign in confusion over the state's new report card scoring.
They said she was able to emphasize district's academics, arts, parental and community involvement, fiscal stewardship and student leadership, activities and services to show parents and the community the district's "quality profile."
And they applauded Powers' approach to parent and community outreach, through the district's website, the Twinsburg Schools Today Cable 9 show, Blackboard Connect, parent forums and the inaugural senior citizens' bus tour of the schools.
Powers' outreach to legislators regarding the loss of funding, testimony before the House Education Committee on HB 420 and the negative impact of students who opt out of testing on the district's grade earned her an exemplary grade for policy and governance.
In the instruction category, the Board praised Powers' implementation of the district's "Continuous Improvement Plan to improve student reading and math performance, especially students with disabilities and economically disadvantaged students, and the Positive Behavior Intervention Supports Initiative, to encourage students to practice empathy and respect for others."
As other examples, Board members said Powers coordinated with building principals and central office leaders quarterly to assess students' progress. She also worked with staff to provide professional development opportunities "designed to improve student learning." She implemented Step Up to Quality, the Ohio Department of Education's preschool accountability measure, resulting in Wilcox Primary School receiving a five-star rating for its preschool.
And in the last category, resources, the Board commended Powers for "being a good steward of public funds."
As examples, the Board cited Powers' collaboration with Aho to continually assess the district's finances. They said she worked with stakeholders and vendors to control spending and secured grants to provide services to students and staff.
The Board recommended Powers keep doing what she's doing.
"The Board is very pleased with the leadership Mrs. Powers is providing our district," they said.
Powers said she appreciates the Board's support.
"I was hired to lead the Twinsburg City School District in 2011," she said. "Each year since then, the Board of Education has established district goals which have become our district's roadmap for success. My work has been to ensure that our district goals are met."
The Board states in Aho's evaluation summary, "The Board values his financial leadership and the trust that he instills in the community."
The Board graded Aho "proficient" as a leader and pointed to his work with Powers and Felber in lobbying Ohio legislators to find solutions to the district's financial challenges; his work with district administrators to create the Financial Strategic Plan Flow Chart; and his establishment and maintenance of sound fiscal practices.
Aho was deemed "exemplary" in financial management, as demonstrated by the clean audits the district has received, his preparation and presentation of the district's 5-year forecasts; and his effective internal controls to safeguard the district's money.
Aho's communication and collaboration were also rated "exemplary," although the Board encouraged Aho to "clarify protocols to ensure timely response to special information requests from Board members."
The Board complimented his reputation in the community and his willingness to meet with "potential critics" to answer questions and respond to concerns.
The Board also called Aho's professionalism "exemplary," highlighting his receipt of Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association.
In its conclusion, the Board says it believes "Mr. Aho provides outstanding financial management for our school system as evidenced by his clean audits and his reputation in the community."
Aho said he has been fortunate to work with great board members, teachers, staff and administrators.
"Over time Board members have come and gone ... nonetheless members' focus has always been on what is best for all kids," Aho said. "You can see their focus as evidenced by the recently approved district goals, and the goals from prior years. When the goals are clear and everyone is moving in the same direction, the Board's full support becomes a natural result of all the hard work of each and every administrator, teacher and staff member."