Published in the February 20, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD – Hardly a negative word was spoken during the School Committee’s annual performance review of School Superintendent Dr. Kim Sm Smith, with members rating her job performance as “proficient” or “exemplary” across the board. The review took place in public session during the school board’s meeting last week.

At the start of the evaluation, School Committee Chairman Greg Liakos outlined the process by which the review was conducted.

He said that Smith provided members with information on her goals and how she has met them. Members had an opportunity to sit down with Smith and then each submitted his or her individual review to the chairman.

Liakos said that the School Committee used a rubric from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the evaluation of a school superintendent’s performance. Under the rubric, a superintendent’s performance in various categories may be rated as “unsatisfactory,” “needs improvement,” “proficient” or “exemplary.”

Liakos noted that a rating of proficient in a given area indicates that the superintendent “fully satisfies” the job requirements. A rating of “exemplary,” he said, means that the administrator’s performance exceeds the standards of proficiency and could serve as a model.

Liakos offered School Committee members an opportunity to share highlights of their individual evaluations of Smith’s performance. He began by noting his own high rating of Smith as superintendent, particularly in the area of “professional culture,” in which he gave her a rating of “exemplary.”

School Committee member RJ Masse said that he had been impressed by Smith’s innovative ideas and her fair and balanced points of view. He rated her “exemplary in my book.”

School Committee member Rob Tiro rate Smith’s performance as “exemplary” in the category of “Instructional Leadership,” noting that she had been cited regionally and nationally for standards created under her administration. Tiro also praised Smith for her “community engagement,” calling her “extremely approachable.”

Committee member Anne Danehy said that Smith provided “exemplary leadership at the top,” adding that the superintendent was “one of the most ethical people I know.” Danehy observed that Smith was always thinking of what’s in the best interests of the students. “You are doing a fantastic job,” Danehy told Smith.

School Committee member Thomas Markham echoed what previous speakers had said, adding that it was “an absolute pleasure to work with Dr. Smith.” Markham rated Smith’s performance as “exemplary” in the areas of professional culture and instructional leadership.

“I’m very pleased with your work and proud that you are Superintendent of the Wakefield Public Schools,” Markham said.

Liakos remarked on the complexity of the job of School Superintendent, observing that Smith was good at “maintaining collaborative relationships with all stakeholders.”

Smith thanked School Committee members, saying that she was “humbled by your comments. My growth as Superintendent is the growth of the Wakefield Public Schools. Wakefield Public Schools means everything to me,” Smith added. “I will continue to strive for excellence.”


The School Committee has been looking at the Wakefield Public Schools “Mission Statement” with an eye toward revising and tweaking it. At last week’s meeting, Smith brought two possible versions for the committee to consider and vote on as the mission statement.

“The mission essentially describes our strategy in brief statement, incorporating our vision and grounded in our core values,” Smith told the School Committee.

Those core values, Smith reminded the committee, related to the following.

• Clarity of Purpose: Inspire the Love of Learning; and

• Culture of Practice: Respectful and Caring.

Smith also refreshed the School Committee on the vision.

“The vision of the Wakefield Public Schools is to graduate students who are confident, lifelong learners who are respectful and caring members of their community.”

Smith provided two possible mission statements from which the School Committee could choose.

Version 1, she said, incorporated the “inspire the love of learning” core value.

• Our mission is to inspire the love of learning in all students with rich and challenging curriculum, high quality instruction, and educational experiences that meet their individual needs and interests.

Version 2, Smith said was “outcome-based.”

• Our mission is to prepare students for     college, career, and community by providing rich and challenging curriculum, high quality instruction and educational experiences that meet their individual needs and interests.

“Either Mission Statement will work well in conjunction with our vision,” Smith told the Committee.

After School Committee member Thomas Markham made a motion, the vote was unanimous to adopt version 2.