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How to Evaluate Your Charter School Leader Using the BoardOnTrack CEO Evaluation Tool

Supporting and evaluating your chief executive is among the most important functions of any charter school board.

The board is responsible for effectively selecting, supporting, and evaluating your charter organization’s CEO.

With a proven evaluation instrument built right into BoardOnTrack, the charter leader evaluation process becomes simple and straightforward.

Here’s how it works. {Even if you aren’t a BoardOnTrack member just yet, you’ll find these steps helpful in ensuring you complete an effective evaluation of your school leader.}

Before you get started, appoint a CEO Evaluation Coordinator.

Who will likely run air traffic control, and coordinate the evaluation, for your governance team this year? Is it your board chair, or maybe a committee chair?

We recommend that every board have a CEO Support & Evaluation Committee. Most likely, the chair of that committee would lead this process.

If you don’t have a CEO Support & Evaluation Committee, your Governance Committee might lead this process, or perhaps a board member who has HR experience.


Insider Tip:
Does your coordinator have the right BoardOnTrack permission settings?
You might need to add “Evaluation Coordinator” to their platform permissions.

 

Your coordinator will start the evaluation and manage the process.

To get started, the coordinator will go into BoardOnTrack and start a new evaluation, clicking on Evaluations and then New to create this year’s evaluation.

You’ll have the option to name your evaluation with whatever title makes sense to you. And consider using consistent naming conventions from one year to the next.

This is also where you’ll set the finish date, as agreed upon with your governance team. The completion date should already be ok’d by your governance team and your CEO. Everyone needs to be able to contribute within the planned timeline.

If needed, it’s easy to change this date in the platform. We’ve built in the flexibility you might need. But, we hope you’ll have your process buttoned down tight from the outset.


Follow a proven evaluation process. And let BoardOnTrack be your project manager.

When you create a new evaluation, you’ll be taken to your evaluation process checklist.

We’ve designed this process based on the experiences of the hundreds of charter boards we’ve worked with nationwide, as well as BoardOnTrack’s founder’s extensive knowledge of best practices in charter governance.

The right steps are all laid out for you — from when to have your CEO’s input, the board’s input, and even staff’s input, and what happens next.

As you complete the actions laid out for you in each step of our process, BoardOnTrack will check off the steps for you, automatically.

You’ll easily see where you are in the process, and what’s next. Without adding project management to your own list of things to do.

Customize your evaluation to fit the your charter school’s leadership role.

The areas covered by our standard survey are those that we recommend any charter school leader be evaluated on.

Still, some school leaders might not own each element we recommend evaluating.

So, we’ve built the evaluation to be customizable. You can choose to exclude the sections that don’t apply to your leader’s work.

For instance, some school leaders don’t do any fundraising. If that’s the case for you, uncheck that section. It won’t appear as an editable item when your team takes the survey.

If you choose to exclude some sections, you’ll notice that your team can still see them — they’re simply greyed out. So, they can be a conversation starter. These are things that best practice says your school leader ought to be doing. Take a moment to discuss whether you want yours to be doing them. This could inform the goals you set for your school leader for the coming year.

Don’t see a focus area or specific questions that fit your CEO’s role? You can add your own custom section and questions.

You can even customize your school leader’s title.

Charter school leaders go by many names. We use the term CEO to denote the person at the very top of the organization, who reports directly to the board. Some call this person their head of school, principal, or executive director.

Choose the right title for your CEO from a pre-set list of title options: CEO, President, Director, Headmaster, or School Leader.

What if none of those fit the title your organization uses for your top executive? Tell us what you prefer, and we can add a custom title just for you.

We want the experience to fit you, your organization, and your school leader, through and through.

These settings can be changed later on.

Especially if this is your first structured CEO evaluation, you might find that some changes are needed midstream. So we’ve built the tools to allow for that. You can toggle sections back on if you chose at the outset to leave them off, or change your school leader’s title.

What’s more, BoardOnTrack will remember your settings.

When you start a new evaluation next year, it will be match the selections you made on this year’s evaluation. And, of course, if you choose to include sections that you didn’t include this year, you can simply click the checkbox to add them in.

Before the board weighs in, your CEO completes a self evaluation.

You’re ready to launch your evaluation. But before anyone on the board is even asked to evaluate your CEO, they’ll do an evaluation of their own performance,

When you click Open, the CEO will receive an email alerting them that it’s time to do their own evaluation.

Based on the goals set for them, and the profile of a BoardSavvy charter school leader, they’ll answer about themselves the same questions that the board will answer about them.

Back up your statements with anecdotal or data-driven evidence.

It’s important to provide support for your assertions — whether you’re the CEO evaluating yourself, or the board evaluating your executive leader.

Under Documentation, the CEO can create a professional portfolio of evidence related to their work and performance. In fact, you can add assets there throughout the year, so that it’s all ready and waiting for you when it’s time to complete your self-evaluation.

What kind of documentation should go here?

Here’s an example: if your school leader had a goal this year of improving teacher retention by 10%, the school leader could upload a document that shows the teacher retention rates for this year.

Or, to support a goal related to closing the achievement gap as measured through test scores, your school leader could upload the presentation they gave to the board illustrating this year’s test scores performance.

It’s all stored in the platform, in perpetuity. It can be accessed well into the future. It becomes even more than a great add-on to the overall evaluation process. It’s also a great tool for the board and CEO well into the future. You’re building an institutional memory, year over year.

On the flip side, the board will also back up their evaluations with supporting evidence.

This isn’t simply a point-and-click exercise. For each question, your board will select your rating and be asked to provide additional comments or specific examples to support your rating.

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With the CEO’s self-evaluation complete, the board can complete their own evaluations.

Once the CEO has completed their survey, the evaluation coordinator can share the CEO’s answers with all board members. Those answers will appear in the Report, even before any trustees have weighed in.

You can choose who the CEO’s answers are shared with. We recommend that it be shared with the full board, because the full board will be asked to weigh in on the CEO’s evaluation. But, if you’re including staff in your evaluation process, you might want to choose whether just the board sees the CEO’s self evaluation.

Each board member will receive an email alerting them that it’s time to do their evaluation, with a link taking them straight to the evaluation.

It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes for each trustee to complete their evaluation.

Have a conversation, as a board, about whether the CEO’s senior staff will participate in the evaluation.

We recommend a modified 360-degree evaluation. The senior staff — that might include the CFO, CAO, Dean of Students, principal — are invited to participate in the evaluation process.

Ultimately, it’s the board’s role to conduct the final evaluation and document it in a memo. But the board has a relatively small window into the CEO’s performance day to day, whereas the staff work with the CEO on a daily basis.

Some boards choose not to have direct reports weigh in. If you decide that you want them to, they would need to have a username in BoardOnTrack. And when you manage the participants in the survey, you can select both direct reports and board members.

Any staff you choose to include as evaluation participants will receive email alerts linking them to the survey.

Your data is made actionable by your reports. BoardOnTrack builds them for you.

Your CEO evaluation becomes far more actionable when you can aggregate and evaluate the data. But, how can you possibly boil down all of your trustees’ and senior staff members’ evaluations into a simple, cohesive, executive summary?

With BoardOnTrack, your robust yet simple report is generated for you.

View and share the results simply, within the platform or with printed copies. You can print a beautifully formatted report of the anonymized, aggregated data, directly from BoardOnTrack. Whether you want to print to PDF or to paper copies, it’s easy to generate and share this report.

Your CEO Support & Evaluation Committee will review the report and finalize the process.

Documenting the evaluation process that took place and summarizing the results is arguably the most important step in the evaluation process.

Your memo documents your process. And it provides an executive summary with highlights of the results — the strengths and potential areas for improvement next year.

Members: Download a template memo straight from the BoardOnTrack platform, to get a head start on this key task. {It’s under step 10 in your evaluation checklist.}

Note: If you don’t have a CEO Support & Evaluation Committee, the group that led this process will handle this step. This might be your Governance Committee. Or, if your board is relatively small, you might be a committee of the whole, together.

Some features of the report:

  • Your respondents’ ratings are translated into numerical scores and added up together to create a clear, at-a-glance overview of your CEO’s performance appraisal.
  • Data is color-coded to separate the CEO’s responses from the board’s.
  • Any ‘Didn’t Know’ responses are shown as a percentage. So you know the validity of your data.
  • Anonymous vs. non-anonymous responses are also clearly delineated
  • All free text comments are easy to read and understand.
  • With one click, see a print view of the report. And you can print to PDF or

Keep track of who’s done what, at each stage of the process.

Even while responses are anonymized in the report, with BoardOnTrack, your coordinator can easily track who’s completed their responses, and who has yet to respond.

Then, send reminder emails to those who need them, directly from the platform.

And, as you share out the final report, you can see who’s viewed it.



ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS

Our leader is overseeing multiple schools, not just a single school. Will this work for us?

The full range of types of charter organizations use BoardOnTrack. And this evaluation is built to fit you at every stage, from single-site to CMO.


Can the report be amended after the evaluation is completed?

Once everyone’s answers have been submitted, they cannot be changed. If someone accidentally submits their response, they can go in and edit their own responses before the coordinator closes the evaluation. But, once the coordinator has closed the evaluation, no responses can be changed.


Are the responses really anonymous?

The coordinator can see which participants have responded. But not what they said.

And, if less than half the board have responded, the REPORT will not show any data. That way, we ensure that a report is not generated if there’s not enough data to protect respondents’ anonymity.


Can we use this to also evaluate individual school leaders within our CMO?

The CEO evaluation is designed to evaluate the top executive of your organization. The board’s role is only to evaluate the CEO who reports to them; not the senior staff who report to the CEO.

But, the process will ask for you to evaluate your CEO’s performance in managing those individual school leaders.

And, your CEO certainly could take a page from our book, and use our questions as inspiration for their own evaluations of their executive direct reports?


Is there a way to incorporate an executive coaching program into this evaluation process?

BoardOnTrack is designed to support both the board and the CEO. A significant amount of our resources and trainings are built for both groups. And we look forward to continuing to build even more executive support & training to help boards help their CEOs do their jobs even better.


How can we help you get your CEO evaluation on track?

If you’re not yet a BoardOnTrack member, contact us to learn how to get started.

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