Board Gives Sicoli High Marks

Yet another one from the sun post;

Robbinsdale Area Schools Supt. credited with ‘outstanding performance’ in 2010-11

At the end of his second year at the helm, Robbinsdale District 281 Supt. Aldo Sicoli’s performance has been outstanding, according to the School Board.  Board Chair Barb Van Heel summarized the board’s June 7 closed-door evaluation of Sicoli at the regular meeting on June 20.

“During our discussion, board members repeatedly expressed how pleased we are with the outstanding performance of Supt. Sicoli and the great things that are happening in our district for all our students due to his collaborative leadership style and excellent communication skills,” Van Heel said.  The board considered Sicoli’s performance in six areas: strategic plan and results, employee relations, community and external relations, operational management, financial management and board relations.  Ratings could be unsatisfactory, basic, proficient, distinguished, or not applicable.

Board members rated Sicoli in each area and also listed commendations and opportunities for action for each category, Van Heel said.  “The board’s evaluation indicated that Dr. Sicoli has consistently demonstrated expertise and skill in all evaluation areas and has exceeded expectations,” Van Heel said.

Strategic Plan and results

Improvement in schools is occurring, Van Heel said, noting that student achievement is up, the climate is improved, and a variety of new systems are in place. The district also has set “stretch” goals for closing the achievement gap, she said.  The board would like to see continued marketing of the school district and focus on targeted staff development, as well as efforts to keep the strategic plan front and center, improvement of academic achievement (especially at the secondary level) and continued efforts to improve school climate and a safe learning environment.

Employee relations

Sicoli was commended for excellent communication skills and “positive, productive relationships,” as well as excelling at empowering the staff.  “The school district has an improved collaborative environment,” Van Heel said. “Supt. Sicoli shows genuine appreciation and great recognition of staff accomplishments, large and small.”  The board would like to see more staff members spotlighted at board meetings, and continuing work on performance evaluations at all levels, as well as professional development where needed, Van Heel said.

Community and external relations

Sicoli’s highly rated communication skills mean that he is visible throughout the district, honest and open, communicates the district’s vision, and promotes the district well, Van Heel said.  The board would like Sicoli to get data on stakeholder satisfaction and “continue to improve customer service at all levels.”

Organizational management

“Supt. Sicoli does not shy away from addressing issues directly,” Van Heel said, adding that “the decision-making process is more inclusive, leading to improved results and buy-in.”  “The work is getting done in spite of cuts,” she said.  The board would like Sicoli to “evaluate the overall effectiveness of all programs and continue to identify and develop leaders among the staff,” Van Heel said.

Financial management

Sicoli was commended for the six successful budget committees he created, for his proactive approach in providing options and making cuts that have “minimal effect to classrooms.”  “The fund balance has increased and he is watchful on expenses,” Van Heel said.  The board is asking that Sicoli “have the budget tell the story to our community.”

Board relations

Regarding board relations, Sicoli was commended for being respectful, genuine, “fun to work with,” and for having integrity, innovation, listening well and maintaining a good sense of humor.

In conclusion, Van Heel quoted a comment from one board member’s evaluation:  “Supt. Sicoli has again distinguished himself as a highly effective Supt. for Robbinsdale Areas Schools. Progress toward many district goals and objectives has surpassed expectations. He is continuing to provide the excellent leadership skills necessary to implement our strategic plan with clarity and focus. He works with staff in a collaborative style and promotes continuous improvement in all areas of the organization through teamwork and a positive attitude. He effectively partners with the board to look for ways to reach out to all members of our community. Our ability to deliver quality educational programs while staying within our financial means is impressive. He celebrates staff and student achievement while recognizing and addressing the need to improve.”

Prior to being hired in April 2009 to replace retiring Supt. Stan Mack, Sicoli was assistant Supt. in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191.  Sicoli’s three-year contract in District 281, extending July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2012, specifies a salary of $174,000 in 2009-10; $177,480 for 2010-11; and $181,030 for 2011-12.

Though we’re not sure we’d give him “outstanding marks on everything” Sicoli has been a nice and refreshing change from Stan Mack.

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