Sunday, January 21, 2018
Education

Hernando superintendent gets good marks in School Board's first evaluation

BROOKSVILLE — Superintendent Lori Romano received mostly strong marks from Hernando County School Board members in her first performance evaluation as head of the district.

Of the four board members who submitted evaluations — John Sweeney said his would come later — none gave Romano a grade below "effective" on any of the 35 criteria used to evaluate her performance. The scale ranged from "not effective" to "outstanding."

Chairman Gus Guadagnino and Cynthia Moore gave Romano the highest marks, describing her as "very effective" or "outstanding" — the two highest scores — in all areas. Moore ranked Romano as "outstanding" in 26 of the categories, more than any other board member.

Moore's positive assessment comes after she was one of two School Board members to vote against hiring Romano in March 2013.

"I think she's done a super job," she said. "She's done a good job of communicating with parents. She keeps up with what's going on well."

Moore said she was a big fan of Romano's town hall meetings and the way she met with parents and teachers at Westside Elementary School to address concerns about the future of the school.

"I think she has super communication skills," she said.

Moore also thinks she has done a solid job coming into a challenging situation.

"She's handled a lot of hard situations well," Moore said, highlighting Romano's handling of the district's first school to receive a "F" grade from the state.

Guadagnino said she has done an excellent job — especially as a rookie superintendent.

"She's definitely 100 percent about the students," he said. "I feel kind of proud and happy that we did get her on board."

School Board member Matt Foreman, who also voted against hiring Romano as superintendent, said she does some things "very well" and expects she will do even better with more experience.

"Overall, I think she's shown a great deal of aptitude," Foreman said.

He said that Romano is an "unbelievably hard worker" and is a strong program evaluator, mixing the objective and subjective.

Her biggest weakness: delegation, he said.

"I think with more experience she'll learn to prioritize and delegate a little better."

In an email to the Times, Sweeney said his assessment of Romano would be ready by the end of the month.

When asked why he had not submitted an evaluation prior to Tuesday's board workshop, he wrote: "I am hoping for some scores to come in, though they primarily reflect the efforts of the prior superintendent."

Romano, who has faced several administrative challenges during her first year, including the demotion of an assistant superintendent, said she found the evaluations and individual meetings with School Board members to be "reaffirming."

"Those conversation with board members were reaffirming that I've had a very positive first year as superintendent," she said. "I feel very successful as a first-year superintendent."

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