BELOIT - School District of Beloit Interim Superintendent Darrell Williams scored competent in a 2016 evaluation and exceeded expectations in his more recent 2017 evaluation, according to records.
The Beloit Daily News sought Williams' performance reviews under the Wisconsin Public Records Law after a group of citizens questioned why the school board has moved to replace him with an outside interim superintendent. Some of those residents, who have been attending board meetings, claim Williams has done a good job in the district and should not be replaced.
During Williams' first year in the district, the 2015-2016 school year, he said he served in the role of assistant superintendent of administration, operations and equity, but also filled the role of interim superintendent for more than 80 school days during the absence of the previous superintendent, Tom Johnson.
Last year, Williams' second year, during the 2016-2017 school year he served in the role of assistant superintendent of administration, operations and equity, but was later officially appointed to the role of interim superintendent from Dec. 28, 2016 until May 15, 2017, during Johnson's absence. During the current 2017-2018 school year, Williams began in the role of assistant superintendent of administration, operations and equity, but again was officially appointed a second time to the role of interim superintendent from Nov. 2, 2017 to the present date.
Johnson eventually resigned his position, effective June 30, due to serious health issues.
"This does not include other days that I fulfilled the responsibilities of the interim superintendent prior to being officially appointed during the absence of the previous superintendent," Williams said.
The board had announced plans to interview four outside interim superintendent candidates on Saturday, but canceled after the resignations of President Laurie Endres, Vice President Kris Klobucar and Treasurer Shelly Cronin earlier in the week. With only four remaining board members left and one of them - David Wilson - being on vacation, it was unclear if three board members would constitute a quorum, so the interviews with candidates were canceled. As of Tuesday, no meeting for interviewing the candidates had been rescheduled.
Both of Williams' evaluations were conducted before he was officially named interim superintendent - one on Sept. 9, 2016 and one on Sept. 8, 2017.
According to his Sept. 9, 2016 evaluation, Williams typically scored a three out of four - or competent - for most areas. The evaluation was set up as follows: 1 point for unsatisfactory, 2 points for satisfactory, 3 points for competent and 4 points for exemplary. Williams never scored lower than 2 points in any category. He also scored 4 points in some areas.
In the 2016 evaluation Johnson said Williams' significant achievements were in obtaining a more diverse workforce, increasing professional development for staff and learning opportunities for students, developing a draft diversity plan and increasing community partnerships.
A better focus on policies and procedures related to human resources and fiscal matters was an area suggested for growth.
On Sept. 8, 2017 Williams had another evaluation for the 2016-2017 school year. The categories were exceeds expectations, meets expectations, does not meet expectations and not observed. Williams had the most marks in the exceeds expectations category.
In the evaluation, Johnson said he encouraged Williams to focus on more on communication with cabinet colleagues. Johnson encouraged him to yield to human resources and the business office where appropriate as they are truly the experts in those areas. Johnson applauded Williams' efforts in community relations, equity, diversity, student engagement and academic leadership.
Williams had both met and not met expectations in the personnel management category.
"Doctor Williams has done an excellent job in equality processes and diversifying our staff. I encourage him to ensure that HR is looped in on decisions and that HR be the first line of handling hire matters. There have been occasions where processes have not been utilized and it is my desire that we always follow in the appropriate protocol for hiring," Johnson said.
When it came to fiscal leadership. Johnson also encouraged Williams to yield to the advice of the Executive Director of Business Services and communicate needs as well as collaborate on concerns. It stated there had been budget overages with Johnson recommending ensuring a closer look at budget expenditures.
"I believe that central office budgeting is a challenge for many in the early years of such a role, myself included. I believe that the 2017-2018 school year will be stronger for Dr. Williams in this area," Johnson stated.
Williams exceeded expectations in the areas of community relations and professional activities.
An attachment to his evaluation listed 55 activities done by Williams including serving as interim superintendent, meeting with the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce to discuss and dispel misconceptions to improve the image of Beloit, participating on the closing the achievement gap committee, meeting with members of the faith community to partner with the district, organizing the largest district and city wide Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr unity breakfast and advocating at the state capital with legislators to increase funding.
Williams also received the Community Service Award from Bethel AME Church, the Back to Beloit Joseph Gaylor Humanitarian Award, the UAW and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership award. Collaborative efforts led to the district being the recipient of the 2016-2017 YWCA Dorothy Height Diversity Award.
"Doctor Williams consistently seeks to improve his professional practice and supports many organizations in their community efforts. I applaud his efforts in this area," Johnson said.