Book Review

The Superintendent Evaluation Handbook

By Michael F. DiPaola and James H. Stronge

Reviewed by Rene Townsend
Partner, Leadership Associates,
Encinitas, Calif.

The Superintendent Evaluation Handbookis a concrete, common sense guide to the whys and hows of assessing and guiding a superintendent's performance. The co-authors, Michael DiPaola (a former superintendent) and James Stronge, are professors in the School of Education at the College of William and Mary.

Their book addresses a frequently overlooked or poorly done activity—the superintendent's annual performance review. The authors believe evaluation is a means to an end and that is achieving the school district's goals.

The work is grounded in the broader context of leadership, professional standards and a survey of actual practice across the country. DiPaola and Stronge use Katz's framework of administrative skills to compare the attributes described by some of the top thinkers on leadership.

Another critical discussion concerns documenting performance in the various superintendent domains, including planning and assessment, instructional leadership and community relations. They address what and how will performance evidence be collected?

This book provides immediate help to those who have no process in place for their own evaluation or an ineffective one in place. Others may find confirmation for their current practices and additional ideas to increase effectiveness.

At 78 pages, the text is concise. The next 100-plus pages provide excellent forms, formats, tools and techniques for superintendents and their boards to design a meaningful process for performance review.

(Superintendent Evaluation Handbook by Michael F. DiPaola and James H. Stronge, ScarecrowEducation, Lanham, Md., 2003, 190 pp. with index, $43.95 softcover. Visit the AASA bookstoreto order. AASA members receive a 20 percent discount on Scarecrow titles.)