DRACUT -- If Steven Stone was a student in the Dracut Public Schools instead of the district's chief administrator, the annual report card filled with superlatives that he received from the school board this month probably would've earned him a large boost in his weekly allowance, or a special family dinner out.
For 2013-2014, Stone's second year as Dracut's superintendent of schools, he surpassed the high marks given him by the school board in his first year by receiving "exemplary" grades across the board in all categories, including: Instructional leadership; management and operations; family and community engagement; and professional culture.
"Mr. Stone is someone who walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to professional culture," reads the school board's consensus comments in the 8-page report, Superintendent's End-of-Cycle Summative Evaluation: 2013-14, in part. "Mr. Stone's work ethic has expanded the boundaries of expectation to higher levels."
The board also determined Stone exceeded expectations in meeting three job-performance goals: professional practice, student learning and district improvement.
Board member Joe Wilkie, who read the superintendent's report-card results into the record at the board's Aug. 11 meeting, thanked Stone for making the evaluators' task an "easy" one.
"It was a fairly easy review to do again this year," said Wilkie, addressing Stone.
Wilkie praised Stone for his communication and social-media skills, including his frequent use of Twitter and Facebook, and attendance at PTO meetings, open houses, community and school events. It's all made Stone a "very visible school leader," Wilkie said.
In commenting on Stone's latest evaluation, member Matthew Sheehan referred to the controversy he created in March 2012 when Sheehan authored a motion to hire Stone as Dracut's new schools chief without going through a search process to fill the position vacated by the previous superintendent, Stacy Scott.
"I always thought that you were the right guy for this position, and you are," said Sheehan. "You've proven that day-in, day-out. You came into a situation and you really turned it around."
Member Dan O'Connell described Stone as a "calming influence on this district since taking over" the job.
"I want to thank you for that. To watch how you go about dealing with a new (high) school, redistricting, and the day-to-day operations, it blows me away. And how you keep everybody informed. You've done a great job, and keep doing everything you've been doing."
Member Betsy Murphy echoed the plaudits given Stone for his work ethic, and urged him to take some vacation time.
"You've got a great sense of humor," Murphy told Stone. "It's not something you can always show when you're leading a school district. You're a witty and enjoyable person to spend time with, and especially when it's some really difficult stuff we have to talk about, levity is important, so thank you for that."
Board Chairman Michael McNamara, who noted he probably spends more time than anyone interacting with Stone, agreed with Wilkie that grading the superintendent as "exemplary" was easy to do.
"I say that with the deepest pride," said McNamara. "It's that day-to-day nose to the grindstone, every day that you're working -- it's just amazing to me."
Redistricting the entire Dracut Public Schools District was an "enormous task," that Stone did exceptionally well, McNamara said. "It was a group effort, and I know you'll give accolades to a lot of people, but you're leadership shone in that task. It's one word, 'redistricting,' but it represents an incredible amount of hours and work."
Stone thanked the School Board for fostering an atmosphere that enables him to do his job of "moving the district forward."
The superintendent also thanked everyone who works for the district for contributing to the "team effort."
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