School Superintendent: How’m I doin’?

JULIE LANE PHOTO Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik wants the community to weigh in on his performance. A questionnaire appears on the school’s website.
Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik wants the community to weigh in on his performance. A questionnaire appears on the school’s website.

It was the trademark question former Mayor Ed Koch would ask walking the sidewalks of New York.

Borrowing the theme, Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik walks the halls of Shelter Island School asking his students and staff to rate his job performance. And now he’s contacting parents, community members, students, faculty and staff asking the same in a survey on the school district’s website.

As he winds up six months on the job, Mr. Skuggevik wants to hear from people in his quest, he said, to produce results the community expects.

He acknowledged that if he started off somewhat sternly with students, it wasn’t a reflection of his feelings about them, but his general approach to everything.

“I come on strong with everything I do,” Mr. Skuggevik said. But he’s settling in and getting more comfortable” with the job and the district and looking forward to a long-term commitment here.

Developed on “Survey Monkey,” an online survey service, the questionnaire provides anonymity to those who answer. The only thing Mr. Skuggevik will be able to tell is in which group a respondent falls — parent, community member, student, faculty or staff.

Initially, respondents will be asked several questions that simply require checking boxes; then three questions will afford an opportunity to write answers to the following:

• What is Mr. Skuggevik doing now that he should continue to do?
• Is there anything Mr. Skuggevik is doing now that he should stop doing?
• Is there anything else that you think Mr. Skuggevik should be doing?

The survey is available at

Since assuming the job at the start of the school year, the superintendent has spoken to numerous groups on the Island and remains open to meeting any group that requests his presence.

The transition from Greenport secondary school principal to superintendent hasn’t been without bumps in the road. “It’s difficult,” he admitted, but he thinks he was “relatively well prepared” for most of the challenges he has faced. Probably the most challenging has been adjusting to the amount of paperwork that goes with the job responding to state and federal forms.

He credits District Clerk Jacki Dunning with making his transition smooth. Without her, it would have been impossible, Mr. Skuggevik said.

Similarly, Mike Dunning, who oversees buildings and grounds, has guided him in learning about projects currently on the table and in the future.

A professional Board of Education that embraces the same objectives he has and works through differences without rancor has been of great help. Mr. Skuggevik said.

The relationship he has developed with the faculty and staff and president of the teachers union has also been positive, he said.

“We’re all focused on the same objective of helping kids,” Mr. Skuggevik said. “That’s number one.”

With that commitment also comes a determination to be fiscally responsible.

“I won’t be asking for a raise” for next year, he said. It’s one of many budget lines that he and the Board of Education have worked hard to control as they craft a spending plan for the 2015-16 school year that won’t pierce the state tax cap.