According to Washington West Supervisory Union executive committee member Eve Frankel, the role of the WWSU superintendent “is not really a role you’d take on if you were looking to win a popularity contest,” she said.
Frankel sought to clarify WWSU superintendent Brigid Scheffert Nease’s realm of responsibility after Troy Kingsbury of Waitsfield asked the executive committee to reevaluate the supervisory union’s current climate survey at their meeting on Wednesday, September 9.
“We’re just looking to establish whether or not there is a good relationship between the superintendent and the staff,” Kingsbury said.
“The superintendent works for the boards. She doesn’t work for the staff,” Frankel said in response, explaining that about one-third of Scheffert Nease’s role is serving as human resources director – handling disputes and negotiating employee contracts.
According to Scheffert Nease, a climate survey in which staff could evaluate the WWSU superintendent – like the one Kingsbury requested – is not really necessary, “because most of them don’t have a clue what I do.”
“The biggest challenge I have in Washington West is people understanding what it is I do,” Scheffert Nease said last Wednesday. “The sad truth is I have almost no relationship with the teachers in the supervisory union,” she said, “and that’s based on the job description. ... We could change that, but then you’d need to hire a human resources director.”
According to Scheffert Nease, the important thing is that within the WWSU “each individual school is reporting a very healthy climate,” she said.
The executive committee did note, however, that the supervisory union could benefit from individual schools sharing what they are doing to evaluate and address climate, as Waitsfield Elementary School principal Kaiya Korb said, that is something she has focused on.
Moving forward, Frankel suggested that Kingsbury’s request to reevaluate the climate survey be put on a future agenda so that they might discuss it in further detail.
At the end of the meeting, the WWSU executive committee went into executive session to discuss the superintendent’s contract. Coming out of the session, they moved to approve Sheffert Nease’s contract renewal for five years and the motion passed unanimously.