Cavanaugh aces review

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School Committee lauds superintendent for communication

Carol Cavanaugh received praise from the School Committee for her efforts during her first year as superintendent.
PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

Superintendent of the Hopkinton Public Schools Dr. Carol Cavanaugh received a positive evaluation for her work during her first full year as leader of the district.

Cavanaugh’s annual review was discussed during the May 20 School Committee meeting, where she was credited for her excellent communication skills and for developing a budget that considered student’s needs and the growing student population.

School Committee Chair Nancy Richards-Cavanaugh read the superintendent’s summative evaluation, which was a compilation of input from all five School Committee members regarding her performance during the school year. The evaluation takes into consideration learning, professional practice and district improvement goals, which can receive ratings of:

  1. Did not meet expectations
  2. Some progress made
  3. Significant progress made
  4. Met expectations
  5. Exceeded expectations

The superintendent evaluation also covers four performance standards —instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement and professional culture. These categories are graded on a scale of unsatisfactory, needs improvement, proficient and exemplary.

The School Committee rated Cavanaugh overall as having met expectations for her goals, with one district improvement goal of developing a budget “reflective of student’s learning needs as well as the expanding student population in the district” as having exceeded expectations.

For her performance standards, Cavanaugh received an overall rating of proficient in all categories, with a number of School Committee members commenting that they had rated her as exemplary in communication and conflict management.

“I want to note that ‘proficient’ is a very good score,” commented Richards-Cavanaugh. “It is an accomplishment.”

Said member Amanda Fargiano: “I can’t imagine someone who would be a more effective communicator. I want to recognize that.”

A part of communication is listening, an area in which Cavanaugh also excels, according to the committee.

“I love the way Dr. Cavanaugh has made herself available to anyone who wants to come and talk to her,” member Meg Tyler said. “Her ability to listen attentively and to respond intelligently and sensitively is a rare virtue.”

Several other School Committee members took the opportunity to give kudos to the superintendent for her work over the past year.

“I think Dr. Cavanaugh is extremely hard working and professional in how she conducts herself,” said School Committee vice chair Meena Bharath, who commented that the budget Cavanaugh presented was well received at the annual town meeting. “You were able to advocate for what we needed for our schools. It was not an easy process, but it was extremely streamlined.”

Added Jennifer Devlin: “I think that the district is very fortunate to have you move right in seamlessly [after the retirement of Dr. Cathy MacLeod]. It has been a challenging year, but you have done it seemingly effortlessly.”

Cavanaugh thanked the School Committee members for their work on the evaluation and her administration team for support throughout her first full year as superintendent.

“They are all very important to this organization and very important to children,” she said. “I am very blessed to have them.”

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