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Benton Harbor School Board gives superintendent an F

Superintendent Shelly Walker during Wednesday night's Benton Harbor School Board meeting // WSBT 22 photo

36 percent – That's the failing score the Benton Harbor School Board has given its superintendent.

The board has rated Superintendent Shelly Walker as ineffective.

Walker is still on paid administrative leave. She was placed on leave last month pending an investigation.

A firm is investigating complaints regarding student safety and not complying with board policies.

While the investigation is ongoing, the board still had to conduct its annual superintendent review, and they gave Walker an F.

For the first time since Superintendent Walker was put on leave, she was at a public board meeting. She sat quietly while the board gave her evaluation.

On a scale of 1 to 4, Walker averaged a 1.69 in things like her relationship with the board, the community and staff.

A 1.69 was for the categories just mentioned. That was then 65% of the score. Walker also scored a 1 for both student growth and progress toward district-wide goals – the other 35 percent of the score – ending with a total of 36 percent, well below the grade to be effective.

"I think it just says work needs to be done, right?" said Joseph Taylor, school board trustee. "Like with any job, you bear a responsibility. That's our CEO, and our CEO runs the district. We hope that we can improve that score so the district can be run as it should be."

Before the evaluation, Walker was given a half hour to tell her side of the story.

This after she did not show up to her self-evaluation meeting last month.

Walker admits there is room for improvement

"Having material is great, but ensuring the staff understands how to teach kids to learn is another variable," Walker said. "Instruction is not an area that I have given much attention to nor provided much leadership around."

The next step is for the board to work with Walker to create a development plan.

Board trustee Joseph Taylor says the three biggest things to work on are communication, finance and attendance.

After the evaluation, the board spent around 20 minutes in a closed session with the attorney investigating Walker.

The board is not commenting on the investigation.


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