Super#039;s evaluation draws praise

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 1, 2007

Mike Looney's performance as superintendent of the Butler County School System drew high marks in the state-mandated evaluation process that was recently completed.

Looney, who just finished his second year as head of the 2,700-student system, earned 48 of a possible 52 points on the evaluation that included a comprehensive review by members of the school board, administrators, principals and staff.

&#8220He's doing a very good job,” Billy Jones, chairman of the school board, said. &#8220We still have a long way to go, but we believe we're moving in the right direction. Mr. Looney is an energetic man and it is obvious his energy flows through our administrators and teachers.

&#8220We're pleased with his leadership. He is doing an excellent job.”

A function of the state department of education and mandated in all 131 public school districts, the evaluation process began last fall and included a structured interview on leadership and vision, development of a portfolio to support the interview and creation of a professional development plan focused on personal and professional growth.

Dr. James Wright, a certified evaluator from Montgomery, facilitated the review that included participation by the school board and 14 local staff members.

Areas addressed were communication, collaboration, assessment, organization, planning, laws and policies; problem solving, innovation, technology, school operations and management, fiscal leadership, professional responsibility and human resources.

&#8220Mr. Looney did an outstanding job on his evaluation,” Wright said. &#8220The process is comprehensive and proven. His rating was an exceptional one and, as I told the board in the exit interview, they should be pleased to know they have a very good superintendent in charge of their schools.

&#8220Working with him and seeing the support of all involved in education there made the evaluation a pleasure to oversee.”

Board members gave Looney a composite 3.8 rating (4.0 is perfect) on a 58-question review. Staff members gave him a composite 3.9 rating on a 35-question review.

&#8220Obviously I am pleased,” Looney said of the high marks. &#8220I think it speaks more to our team leadership than to any one particular person. We can't accomplish anything alone. The scores indicate our team is operating efficiently.”

He said he is especially pleased by the uniformity in scores and responses.

&#8220That the data is congruent indicates widespread agreement on performance of the entire system,” he explained. &#8220It shows there is important buy-in on the course we've charted and in the direction we are moving.”

Looney, 44, came to Butler County from Montgomery where he was assistant superintendent of schools. Prior to that, he spent seven years as a teacher and administrator in the Calhoun County system.

A former Marine, he spent nearly five years as a financial officer in private industry before entering the education field.

He has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Jacksonville State University and an Ed.S. from the University of Alabama. He is pursuing a doctorate at Alabama.