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Superintendent John Buckey

Superintendent Receives Three “Proficients” and Two “Needs Improvements” from School Committee

The Marblehead School Committee met earlier this week to share their evaluations of Superintendent John Buckey’s performance over the past year. This evaluation process is described in detail in resources provided by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, which includes a variety of specific rubrics and guidelines.


In the overall end-of-year evaluation, referred to as the summative report, three of the current School Committee members – Tom Mathers, Meagan Taylor, and Sarah Gold – gave Buckey an overall rating of “proficient” from among options that also included “unsatisfactory,” “needs improvement,” and “exemplary.” The remaining two members – Chair Sarah Fox and Alison Taylor – both assigned an overall rating of “needs improvement.” 


All of the detailed individual reports, including narrative explanations of the chosen ratings, are posted on the School Committee website


In support of her “proficient” ranking, Meagan Taylor praised Buckey’s “positive, collaborative working relationships with town officials and community groups such as the rotary, and Sustainable Marblehead.” She went on to note that she encourages Buckey going forward to “focus on growing the METCO program, increasing special education inclusion practices, continuing to enhance curriculum, and leadership development for staff.”


Gold also offered positive feedback, noting that “communication continues to be a strongpoint in connecting with the school community as well as other stakeholders in the Town of Marblehead,” and Mathers reinforced this sentiment, saying that “Dr. Buckey has an excellent relationship with his administration and the collective bargaining units within [Marblehead Public Schools].” He also complimented Buckey on an “outstanding job of improving [Marblehead Public Schools] financial transparency in FY23.”


As reflected in their overall rating, Fox and Alison Taylor generally focused their comments on areas in need of improvement, with Fox suggesting that Buckey should “develop his communication skills further so he is communicating independently more and relying on outside communications support only when required due to unforeseen circumstances.” Alison Taylor reinforced this message, writing that “rather than paying a communications consultant, it’s important that our district know that the word choices and tone are Dr. Buckey’s own.”


Alison Taylor also expressed an interest in hearing more specific details about the outcomes and benefits of the programs that Buckey has implemented, and Fox noted her concern that “the lack of a 360 degree anonymous review by the staff continues to be a problem while trying to review the effectiveness of Dr Buckey as a leader.” A 360-degree review generally encompasses responses from a variety of stakeholders, including parents, teachers, and other school staff. This type of evaluation tool has been proposed on several occasions but not yet implemented in Marblehead.


The next step is for the five individual School Committee assessment documents to be compiled into a single overall assessment, a process that is now in the hands of Alison Taylor, who serves as the School Committee Secretary.  This composite document will be presented for approval at the next School Committee meeting on June 15.


Superintendent Buckey currently has a contract in place that extends through the summer of 2025. While he was originally hired with a three-year contract from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023, he was offered an extension to five years during the summer of 2021.


Rumors have been circulating through the community that a new agenda item may be added to the June 15 School Committee meeting to discuss Buckey’s contract, possibly with the goal of considering a further extension or a salary increase. 


Marblehead Beacon has reached out to the members of the School Committee to verify whether a contract extension or salary increase will in fact be on the agenda and will provide updates as we receive them. 


Editor’s Note: Jennifer Schaeffner is a Marblehead Beacon founding member and editor but has taken a leave of absence from any role with Marblehead Beacon during her campaign for School Committee.

Editor's Note: In the Summative Evaluation portion of Select Board member Alison Taylor's review, there was no designation checked off, but the marks comprising it were overwhelmingly marked "Needs Improvement." Marblehead Beacon spoke with Taylor and she confirmed that it was inadvertent that she neglected to mark the Summative Evaluation, but her intention was, indeed, to check off "Needs Improvement."