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Hathorn reacts to board evaluation

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Student test scores are up but the Youngstown Board of Education's opinion on their superintendent's performance has gone down.

Superintendent Connie Hathorn made a lot of changes to the district since he came to town in 2011. However, they may not have been enough to please the Board of Education.

The board gave him a 5 out of 9 in a recent performance evaluation. Five is considered satisfactory. Last year, he received a seven which is considered commendable.

"We based that on the report card from the state. We're still on academic watch for two years in a row. What kind of message do we send to students and parents? Do we agree with academic watch? No," says Richard Atkinson, Youngstown School Board President.  

Three out of the seven board members refused to sign the evaluation, saying the superintendent deserved better.

"We moved up in some areas by 20 points and if they went down, it was by a tenth of a point. So I think we have the steps in place to really move the district forward. I don't think that justifies anything lower than what he had last year," says Rachel Hanni.

Other board members disagree. 

"I think one of the really weaknesses the superintendent has is he doesn't like to take criticism so it's hard to grow when you offer criticism and it continues to be a struggle of war with that," Andrea Mahone says.

Hathorn says he does not agree with the evaluation. He said no feedback was given to him for the rating.

"We were in academic emergency when I got here. All the elementary schools are now in continuous improvement, all except one. Harding they went down but based on the merit tests we give them, they're going to come back up," Hathorn says.

Hathorn says it takes two to three years after big changes are made to see a recorded growth in student achievement and he's certain it will continue to occur.

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