Lou Cavallo received a solid grade from the Forest Park District 91 Board of Education in its recent annual evaluation of its superintendent. The board rated Cavallo a three on a four point rating system. The three is the second highest grade and stands for “above average/proficient competency and performance level” according to the board’s evaluation which was voted upon and released at last week’s school board meeting.
“It’s like a B+ or even an A-,” said Sean Blaylock, vice president of the school board.
Cavallo was evaluated on 17 specific areas ranging from leadership and collaboration to managing resources.
The district’s one page evaluation listed all 17 areas but only gave one overall rating for Cavallo.
Blaylock said that Cavallo, who was hired by District 91 three years ago to replace the retiring Randy Tinder, has been a change agent at District 91.
“Dr. Cavallo really reaches out to stakeholders within the community and within the district to help analyze and look at and facilitate and move us toward change,” Blaylock said.
Blaylock said that Cavallo is not satisfied with the status quo.
Longtime District 91 board member Lois Bugajsky agreed that Cavallo has made his presence felt.
“He said he would make a difference if we considered hiring him and I think he has,” Bugajsky said. “Lou is easy to work with. He’s very thorough in his investigations before he brings anything to us. He works well with us. He’s a good guy.”
Cavallo showed that he wasn’t afraid to shake up what was a somewhat sleepy school district when he proposed turning the district’s four elementary schools into grade level centers. The proposal was met with criticism and concern by many parents at first but Cavallo held five public forums about the proposal and now the program, which is in its first year, seems to be going well and opposition to it has quieted down.
“Our district philosophy is moving from good to great,” Cavallo said. “I came to a good district. There was nothing wrong with District 91, but I want to make it a great district and to do that some things have to change.”
Bugajsky specifically praised Cavallo, whose background is in curriculum and instruction, for bringing in Ed Brophy as assistant superintendent of operations.
“He brought in a business manager,” Bugajsky said. “Ed is wonderful and he’s saving us money. He’s very good at what he does.”
Cavallo said that he is happy with the grade he received.
“I would say that I am in agreement with the three and don’t necessarily expect a four,” Cavallo said. “I am very pleased with the evaluation that they gave me.”
Cavallo said that his goals for the upcoming year include improving the district’s curriculum in science and social studies, making the district’s Web site more user friendly and increasing the emphasis on social and emotional learning.
“I want to continue to improve the communication with the community,” Cavallo said.