Evaluation of Martin appeared to lack creditability

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By Susan Sharp

Oscar Wilde once said the two biggest tragedies in are not getting what you want and getting what you want.

It appears that is the case with the Campbell County Board of Education and Dr. Michael Martin, director of schools.

Last week’s evaluation of his performance was brutal.

I am not sure why a man who improved the county’s two high schools to the point they are no longer at risk of a state take over was asked immediately if he wanted to resign. Where I come from, that is just rude.

As the process to fill the position Martin now holds played out two years ago, the Press gave it extensive coverage. The board of education, at that time, made no attempts to soft sell what it was looking for. It wanted a strong, goal oriented leader with a compelling background in curriculum. Martin fit the bill.

He came to this county and did exactly what he was asked to do- save Campbell County and Jellico High Schools from falling under state control. That chore could not have been easy.

Along the way, Martin had to make not only curriculum changes but also staff changes. Change in itself is never easy. But when it comes in large amounts, it can be overwhelming. I don’t know for a fact, but I would wager that along the way of change, Martin upset some people with his adjustments. Does this fall under “the breaking eggs to make a cake category?” Yes it does. But how can an argument be made against Martin when he did precisely what the BOE mandated he do?

The second series of tasks Martin was asked to complete was to improve the attendance and graduation rates. He did this by increasing those percentages by 8- percent and 10- percent, respectively. Despite having moved these items to the done column, when his overall score was revealed last Tuesday it was a 1.7… out of four.


That is how this community and its elected officials say thank you?

I know Martin took some hard licks for his “lack of communication” with faculty and staff.

But was that really a reason for board members to submit such low scores on his evaluation?

He was not hired to come into this county and host cocktail parties.

Martin was hired to improve the county’s education system, which he has done.

Where were his scores for that?