Houston County superintendent reacts to low performance score from board

Houston County superintendent reacts to low performance score from board
David Sewell

DOTHAN, Ala. (WSFA) - Houston County School System’s superintendent says he respects the results of a recent school board survey on his performance, but doesn’t agree with the results.

This week, the results of an annual and policy-mandated survey were released. The survey, conducted by the Alabama Association of School Boards, asked questions about personnel management, communication skills, and leadership effectiveness.

Superintendent David Sewell received a 2.4 out of 5 for his overall performance in the role. A 3-rating means he is meeting board members’ expectations. Six of the seven board members completed the survey. The small group used on the evaluation brought concern.

“Only six people answered. Very small group of people and a very limited range of scores - 1-5,” said Sewell. “I felt like some of it - the fact that I am elected superintendent and the board wants more control over me and those things.”

School board members cited issues with communication as one reason for the low score. Sewell says he feels like he does communicate, but will work to communicate more.

“I’ll acknowledge that and I’ll try to do better. Sometimes, I don’t have reasons to communicate with them for a week, but I’ll try to reach out to them more," said Sewell.

Although the scores from the board were low, he says a survey conducted by other administrators and staff with the school system gave him an overall rating for 3 out of 5. Sewell says that is more reflective of his leadership in the system, but ultimately the people decide his effectiveness.

“The people that I work with every day scored me quite a bit higher. I fell better about that, because those are the people I work with every day. I don’t see the board members every day and sometimes I only see, and respond to them, at the board meetings,” said Sewell. “I feel like since I’m an elected superintendent the voters, the people in the county, in the district - I feel like that’s my success.”

Sewell didn’t comment on if he feels like the board members are pushing him out. He says he will talk to board members individually about working to move forward and believes they can move forward. He is running for re-election.

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