Board creates new process to evaluate superintendent

Knost finishing his first year as Mehlville superintendent

By Kari Williams

Mehlville Board of Education members are changing the way they evaluate the district’s superintendent.

Board Vice President Elaine Powers told the Call the new evaluation process is being developed because the board is comprised of seven members who bring diverse experiences to the table.

“We felt it was important to make sure we had a well-documented, formal process in place so … if at any point we’re talking about making any type of personnel decision, that you have a more formal record of performance,” she said.

The new process, according to Powers, will be a “two-component” evaluation.

“The first part of it is looking at the goals that were set for the current year, looking at the superintendent performance as it relates to those …,” she said, “(and the) second piece is looking at general expectations of a superintendent — management, leadership skills, relationship with the board, general expectations and competencies that would be expected of a superintendent.”

The goals used to evaluate Superintendent Eric Knost’s performance are the district’s vision points, which can be found online at

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Powers said the second aspect of the evaluation is for establishing future expectations.

“(We’re) using that to really start a dialogue of what the expectations are, (what they) should be,” she said, “and it also helps us as a board to make sure we all share the same expectations …”

Most school boards, according to board Secretary Larry Felton, use a process that involves setting goals early in the year as an evaluation tool for superintendents.

Board President Venki Palamand, who has been on the board for five years, said in the past board members emailed comments to the board president, who would have a one-on-one conversation with the superintendent.

With the new evaluation, Palamand said Powers, Felton and he will sit down with Knost and review the evaluations and discuss how Knost was rated on his performance for his first year as superintendent.

“It won’t just be the board president sitting down with (the superintendent),” Palamand said. “(It will be) a more collective approach to try to give him more direction together as opposed to a more individual approach.”

However, Felton said the new evaluation still will involve responses from individual board members.

Powers said the idea for the new evaluation has been an ongoing, evolving conversation. The overall purpose of the evaluation, according to Powers, is to support Knost in his own professional development and his growth as a superintendent, which, “in turn, strengthens the district.”

“Having something formal and written, can help visit any point you’re looking at,” she said.