School board renews Dyer's contract

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG

Posted 2/13/18

Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Russell Dyer has received a positive evaluation from the Cleveland Board of Education, and the board voted Monday to renew his contract for four more …

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School board renews Dyer's contract

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Cleveland City Schools Director Dr. Russell Dyer has received a positive evaluation from the Cleveland Board of Education, and the board voted Monday to renew his contract for four more years. 

Dyer received a score of 4.83 out of a possible 5 on an evaluation that looked at everything from his ethics to his interactions with the community. 

"He has done really well as the director of schools," said Dawn Robinson, the board's chair. "He's also taken some pretty big risks within his first year." 

To complete his evaluation, board members met with Dyer individually and each scored Dyer using a method he had helped choose. 

The evaluation categories and his final, averaged scores were: 

• Mission, Vision and Core Values: 4.96

• Ethics and Professional Norms: 4.94

• Equity and Cultural Responsiveness: 4.69

• Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment: 4.86

• Community of Care and Support for Students: 4.66

• Professional Capacity of School Personnel: 4.69

• Meaningful Engagement of Families and Community: 4.94

• Operations and Management: 4.84

• School System Improvement: 4.89

Dyer has been the director since the summer of 2016, after the board voted to hire him at the cost of $138,000 per year. Robinson noted Dyer had stepped into his role under unusual circumstances. The board had just fired its previous director, Dr. Martin Ringstaff, earlier that year. 

As discussions about Dyer's contract and pay took place Monday, board members praised how he had led the school system out of a difficult time, while also implementing new plans. 

Since he has become director, Dyer has done things like oversee the implementation of the BLADE Project, a one-to-one technology initiative, and the beginning of construction on a new elementary school. He has also helped school system leaders create a new strategic plan and begin working on efforts such as moving high school credit-recovery students into Cleveland High School. 

"I've been very pleased with his performance as director of schools," said board member Steve Morgan. 

The board voted to grant Dyer a four-year contract, with a salary of $153,000 per year. This contract will start July 1. 

Robinson said this salary amount is in line with the salaries other school systems in Tennessee pay their directors. Because of the contract's timing, Dyer would also not be eligible for any other raises this calendar year. 

In their salary discussion, multiple board members, including Robinson, also said they wanted to "reward" Dyer for what he has accomplished so far. 

The vote to accept the results of the evaluation and the vote to approve Dyer's contract were both unanimous, with board member Tom Cloud absent. 

Dyer thanked the board and said he looks forward to continuing to serve as the director for years to come. 

"I love being in Cleveland; it's home now," Dyer said. "We have a fantastic school system, and more than that, we have a great staff. ... It takes all of us in this school system to make it work."


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