WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The grade is in for School District of Palm Beach County Superintendent Dr. Donald Fennoy.
School board members discussed Fennoy's annual evaluation Wednesday evening and gave him an overall "effective" rating. That is the second-highest rating on a four-point scale. Last year, Fennoy earned one tier higher with a "highly effective" rating.
Some board members, however, said this rating did not tell the full story. The evaluation was conducted for the previous fiscal year, so board members were instructed to rate the superintendent through June 30.
Over the past few months, Fennoy has faced increased criticism for communication and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and return to in-person instruction.
Board member Karen Brill said if the evaluation went until today, she would have additional concerns.
"I feel very confident that he takes our comments very, very seriously. But I do want to say to my colleagues, if we expect Dr. Fennoy to be able to perform, we have to allow him to make changes to his staff that he deems necessary," she said. "I ask my colleagues on this board to allow the superintendent to do his job, to meet with us, to discuss our concerns, and I look forward to being able to let him do what he feels needs to be done."
Some board members said they want to see the superintendent be more proactive in handling issues before they escalate.
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Board member Marcia Andrews cited the current situation with former Spanish River Community High School Principal William Latson and the questions over whether to now rescind the board's vote to reinstate him.
"I'm hoping as we move forward, I won't be saying this another year, that we're still in the same boat," Andrews said.
Board member Dr. Debra Robinson said she was sad and disappointed that some things have not changed with the district's leadership.
"I don't know the games I see getting played," Robinson said. "I would like for us to focus on our mission statement and focus on behalf of children."
Marcia Andrews echoed the sentiment.
"When I look at the things that need to get done, it starts at the top," she said. "It really does. He's got to be able to lead. He's got to be able to do those pieces of the puzzle that gets the rest of his team involved so that we can be where we need to be."
Board members did say Fennoy has made great strides in the community and becoming more visible in schools.
Board member Erica Whitfield said she felt the superintendent was doing the best job he could given this unprecedented situation and asked other board members to "give him some grace."