Searching for a Data Czar

District plans to hire a Director of Assessment and Accountability

By Lauren Sorensen, Current Staff

The West Bend School District is currently looking for a new individual to oversee data collected to measure the progress of students and various district departments.

The job title is Director of Assessment and Accountability, and the position was posted on February 11. The position is not new, but was not filled for the 2014-2015 school year.

The position was left vacant this year after Ryan Wilson left the district’s central office. The job was left unfilled this school year because of the specific skill set it requires, according to Al Pauli, the district’s chief academic officer. Finding an individual with the necessary skills willing to come to West Bend halfway through the year was not realistic, according to Pauli. For this year, various members of the curriculum and instruction department at the district office have fulfilled the tasks.

According to the job posting, applicants must have obtained a master’s degree in educational administration or curriculum and instruction. The position requires experience with computer applications that analyze data, leadership/training abilities, and the capability of organizing the administration of standard assessments while interpreting the results.

The posted salary for the position is $95,000-$110,000 as a 12-month full-time position.

This position has previously been held by Pauli. He is one of the district employees who absorbed some of the responsibilities of the vacant position. Pauli is also retiring at the end of this school year. Bart Williams, member of the West Bend school board, said that Pauli’s absence will not affect the position in any way.

“I think the position drives a lot of what we need to do, and you need to have a certain skill set and experience to do it effectively.”
– Bart Williams, school board member

“I think [the position] drives a lot of what we need to do, and I think you need to have a certain skill set and experience doing it to do it effectively,” Williams said. According to Williams, the position requires the ability to translate data and communicate to educators what needs to be done in order to see improvement.

“Probably unknown to students, each department here, such as finance, has a dashboard where we have to show improvements,” Pauli said. A dashboard refers to the data that is collected and interpreted in order to monitor the level of growth in the district.

Williams said that the position is needed in the district. “Students get all these assessments, what do you do with all that data?,” Williams said. He said that the Director of Assessment and Accountability must analytically view a broad range of data and apply the results to see measurable improvement.

“It’s important to our vision of continuous improvement, and continuous learning,” Williams said.

The position serves as a monitor of accountability within the district. “We are accountable to the taxpayers to make sure that every year we are more effective in producing results,” Pauli said.  “There is a continuous improvement process that we have. Just like a school has to show that they are improving over time and that kids are learning. This person helps to design and keep up the dashboard of each of the departments and each of the schools.”

The Director of Assessment and Accountability must communicate “how the district is making progress and maybe areas that we are not making progress,” Williams said.

The school board is not directly involved with the hiring process, but the board does receive updates from the district central office on the status of the search.

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