Board lauds superintendent in annual review

The Rockford Board of Education issued the following summary of Superintendent Dr. Shibler’s performance evaluation, conducted on Monday, Feb. 22, 2010:

Dr. Shibler is in the midst of his 21st year as Superintendent of the Rockford Public Schools. In the face of unprecedented financial constraints, he has again pursued and helped achieve his goal for the district of continuous improvement. The Education YES! grades for the district were all A’s for the fifth consecutive year. Student performance in academics and co-curricular activities continues to be exemplary. He maintains his role as an instructor for future educators and facilitates others on his staff to do so as well. The district has an unusually strong relationship with our surrounding community due to his skills as a liaison. Perhaps his most visible accomplishment, apart from his customary activities as superintendent, is his outstanding performance as chair of the KISD grassroots network. Legislation has been influenced and even initiated by him in Lansing. It is remarkable that he has accomplished all of this while spearheading a successful non-homestead renewal election.

Dr. Shibler’s professional skills are second to none. Both generally and in a number of specialized educational fields, he is recognized as an expert on a local and statewide level. His philosophy of education can be summed up quite simply: Whatever is best for kids trumps all other factors. He is very professional and admired throughout the state. He is a phenomenal leader as evidenced by the number of individuals, both in his peer group and in the general community, who gravitate to his views on educational issues. Even if one conflicts with his position, he or she comes away with renewed respect for him. He is in almost constant demand as a spokesperson for education in West Michigan because he is extremely articulate, both orally and in his writing. Upon facing a new challenge, he is quick to perceive its parameters and pursue an effective approach to overcome it. He can be quite creative in his actions, with a voracious attention to detail. It should be noted that all of these attributes do not cloud his overall common sense that has served our district well.

Dr. Shibler’s management style includes extensive and effective delegation of authority. As an example of his leadership capability, his management team has exhibited tremendous improvement, especially in light of the number of changes and transitions our district has experienced in the last four years. He is a good coach and helps and encourages his team members to grow in their positions, to the point that they each are much more versatile than they were before. His skills and performance were simply exemplary in light of the severe financial crises we have been and currently are facing. His organizational and planning skills continue to be displayed by our RAMS VII goals. The pursuit of these substantial goals remains paramount, and he ensures that all in the district are accountable for their achievement. Complacency is not an option for Dr. Shibler, as he demands initiative, diligence, and supreme effort from both his staff and himself.

Dr. Shibler cultivates strong professional relationships with board members, staff, stakeholders, and external groups. He is very transparent in his role as superintendent. The proverbial door is always open. Through the years, he has honed his public relations skills to the point that our legislators look to him for guidance on most educational issues. Despite his obvious leadership capabilities, he is eager to cooperate with others in achieving a common objective. He is an opinion leader among his colleagues and is often sought out by the media on issues of educational importance and yet he understands the importance of our connections to the broader community. He has a unique way of incorporating the district in the business and broader communities to achieve mutual benefit. Putting it simply, Dr. Shibler inspires confidence in the district and throughout our community at large.

Dr. Shibler’s personal qualities are above reproach. He is certainly passionate and intense in his efforts on behalf of our district, but those who know him would describe him as very compassionate and understanding. He is of unquestioned integrity and is unfailingly honest in his dealings. He remains supremely focused on the vision for our district. He truly exhibits an entrepreneurial spirit while striving to maintain collegiality in his dealings throughout the district. He processes situations quickly and efficiently, and he understands the ramifications of decisions and actions taken by the district. He has an overriding sense of priority and proceeds accordingly. He is appropriately assertive and yet he retains his poise and composure in the face of criticism.

It continues to be a pleasure to serve alongside Dr. Shibler and his staff. He has produced consistently outstanding performance in the direst of circumstances. He remains energized, challenged and confident in his role as superintendent. He is a continual and tireless advocate for Rockford Public Schools and public education in general. In our opinion, Dr. Shibler is simply the best superintendent in the state of Michigan.

The Board of Education unanimously supports the extension of Dr. Shibler’s contract for an additional year, taking it through the 2015-16 school year.

At its regular meeting held following Dr. Shibler’s performance evaluation, motion was made by Charles Boekeloo, supported by Randall Sellhorn, to extend Dr. Shibler’s contract through the 2015-2016 school year and to approve Dr. Shibler’s request to continue to freeze his salary at the 2008-09 level for 2010-11 due to the current budget crisis. The motion was carried unanimously.

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