Flint, MI—The Flint Schools Board of Education deemed the district’s superintendent an effective leader following an evaluation of his job performance. 

The evaluation of Kevelin Jones, Flint Community Schools’ (FCS) superintendent, is the first that was completed by the Board since he took helm of the district in late 2021, though the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB), the evaluation’s developer, notes that state law requires a superintendent be reviewed annually.

The evaluation’s ranking possibilities are “highly effective” followed by “effective,” “minimally effective” and “ineffective.”

State law says the evaluation is meant to assist in identifying the need for performance improvement measures should an administrator receive a minimally effective or ineffective rating.

The evaluation

Overall, Jones received a rating of 81%, which is within the effective range of 75% to 89% in the evaluation.

Board Secretary Claudia Perkins noted the favorable evaluation of Jones comes amid a series of senior staff resignations. Since April, the district’s former assistant superintendent and former heads of finance, human resources and academics have all departed. 

“He is doing a great job at a great disadvantage, and that being that a lot of his staff had gone,” Perkins said. “So he’s wearing many hats, but he’s a great person, and I have the utmost respect for him and the job that he’s doing.”

The Board approved the evaluation 6-0 on June 14, 2023, with Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Laura MacIntyre absent.

The final score was calculated from three main categories: FCS student growth in academics, progress toward district-wide goals and Jones’ professional practice.

Jones’ professional practice carries the most weight in the evaluation, and the category includes his performance in governance, educational leadership, business and finance, alongside relations with the Board, staff and community. 

“Mr. Jones has been working to improve communication with the Board,” the Board’s comments read under the evaluation’s governance and Board relations section. Later, in the community relations section, trustees wrote, “In spite of many challenges, Mr. Jones has been able to celebrate achievements and good things happening around the district.”

Past successes, challenges and Board relations

In response to the evaluation results, Jones said he was glad that the Board felt he’s been an effective superintendent. 

He pointed to creating the district’s strategic plan as well as renovating Doyle-Ryder Elementary School and Flint Schools’ parking lots as some examples of the district’s achievements under his leadership. Launching hydration stations for safe drinking water is another, he added. 

But the superintendent said there are still things to work on, both for himself and the Board. 

“The Board is happy about the work we’ve been able to do in the last, I would say, almost two years,” he said. “There’s some growing for all of us to do. There’s some growing for me to do.”

Jones noted that managing the contention among members of the previous Board was a big challenge early on in his tenure. And while the new Board has seen conflict and infighting too, Jones said “we reached civility in our meetings and that’s important. You don’t have a lot of the screaming and hollering and the gavel being half broken and all that stuff. They have come together, and I will say we have come together.” 

Board Treasurer Dylan Luna said he’s optimistic that the Board is becoming more collaborative.

“All the resignations in key positions in the executive cabinet, I think it’s kind of brought a sobering reality that we have to do something different to really move the needle in the positive direction,” he said.

The former heads of finance and human resources alongside the former assistant superintendent all voiced concerns about the Board, according to state and county officials. That goes for the former head of academics too, as Flint Beat previously reported.

Board’s hopes for the superintendent 

Moving forward, Luna said he hopes that the superintendent can help the district attract and retain staff, from teachers to administrators and executive cabinet members. 

As for academics, Jones said the district has seen improvements with students’ growth in reading, but much more work remains to be done to boost their test scores — a key goal of Flint Schools’ partnership agreement

Michael Clack, the Board president, said he hopes the superintendent will help the district build its capacity in early childhood education and athletics.

“We used to be a powerhouse in basketball and football,” said Clack, a former student athlete at Southwestern Classical Academy. “We used to have a lot of good athletes come out of Flint—basketball players, football players and track runners.” 

Board Vice President Joyce Ellis-McNeal added that she’s looking for the superintendent to help the district advance its 2022 to 2027 strategic plan.

Building a new high school is outlined in that plan, and Trustee Terae King Jr. told Flint Beat he hopes to see that vision come to fruition alongside renovations of the district’s existing buildings.

Talks between the superintendent and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation regarding funding for a potential new high school are underway, and Jones said he sees that as a sign of progress towards Flint Schools’ broader goals.

King added that bringing building improvements and a new school go hand-in-hand with closing down schools to ensure that FCS is financially stable.

Currently, a consulting firm is working on a plan to downsize the district, which Jones said represents another step in the right direction.

Taken together, King echoed the superintendent’s desire to re-energize, renovate and rebuild the district.

“Mr. Jones … has been doing the best he can with what he has,” King said. “Hopefully, as we keep moving forward, we can help out even more with vacancies, rebuild the pride back inside of our district for employees to come back, teachers to come back, children to come back.”

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...