Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta could be in line for a bonus now and a pay raise in her next contract based on an annual evaluation recently completed by the School Committee.

No committee members gave Marotta an unsatisfactory rating for any of the goals and standards on which she was reviewed, but evaluations were not consistent among committee members. Several members, including the mayor, gave mostly "exemplary'' ratings, while other members gave mostly "needs improvement'' and "proficient'' ratings.

Goals for Marotta listed by committee members included improved student learning, decreasing absenteeism and expanded communication with the school community, including families and teachers who bring up concerns.

This was Marotta’s second review after she was hired July 1, 2018, at a starting salary of $190,000 for her first year, $194,000 for the second year and $198,000 on July 1 of this year.

Her current three-year contract expires June 30, 2021, and the committee is expected to decide at a meeting in January what her salary and bonus structure will be.

In addition, Marotta is eligible for a performance bonus of up to 4% of her base pay. If the committee gives her the full 4 percent, as it did last year, Marotta would receive a bonus of almost $8,000.

She also receives an annual $2,500 payment towards the purchase of an annuity.

In last year’s review, School Committee members gave Marotta mostly high marks, although a few of her strongest supporters said she needed to do a better job of communicating with committee members, the press and the public.

Mayor James Fiorentini, who is chairman of the committee, said in the recent review that Marotta has made dramatic improvements in communication since last year’s evaluation.

“I no longer get the complaints I was getting from parents and staff that the superintendent was not getting back to them,” he said.

The mayor recommended Marotta focus on creating a school building maintenance plan for the coming year that has a goal of preventing problems in buildings.

School Committee President Rich Rosa said copies of the 87-page evaluation of Marotta are available to the public upon request.

Fiorentini said he wanted the evaluation process to be “transparent,” but also said he didn’t want the reviews posted on the School Department website for everyone to see. In his evaluation, the mayor gave Marotta the two highest ratings — "proficient'' and "exemplary.''

Rosa said in his evaluation that Marotta’s overall performance was “exemplary.”

“Her work ethic, transparent management style, and determination to do what is best for all students are her strengths,” he said in his comments. “She provides the Haverhill Public Schools with strong, ethical leadership and unwavering professionalism. She is respectful to staff, parents, students, community members, and the School Committee.”

Committeewoman Maura Ryan-Ciardiello was less impressed with Marotta’s performance, giving her mostly "needs improvement'' and "proficient'' ratings. She said that while Marotta has added many administrative positions to the district, schools would have benefited from the addition of more teachers and student support services.

“This pandemic hit us hard and reaching out for continuous feedback from all and sharing it with others would help with this difficult situation,” Ryan-Ciardiello wrote. “Many adjustments have been made and I hope that Superintendent Marotta can make more improvements to help support our staff members, students and families.”

Committeewoman Gail Sullivan gave Marotta mostly "exemplary'' ratings.

Sullivan said Marotta has “changed the district from a culture of ‘just getting by’ to working toward a culture of inspiring everyone to reach for excellence for all students — regardless of race, ethnicity or income.’”

Committeewoman Toni Sapienza-Donais said in her review that Marotta’s overall performance fell into the "needs improvement category,'' but she did rate Marotta proficient in several areas.

“Marotta fell short in the area of Family and Community Engagement due to her substandard ability to communicate with the school district as well as the community at large,” Sapienza-Donais wrote. “This was evidenced by the numerous rumors, fears, and concerns that erupted when not enough details were shared nor explained during the shift to hybrid and remote learning.

“Parents were confused and rightfully so when they could not get answers to what cohort their child would be attending, how attendance would be marked, how their child would be graded, how their child would be bused and the like,'' Sapienza-Donais wrote. "Teachers were also left in the dark as to who could or could not teach remotely, how they would be chosen, who was eligible for COVID leaves, what remote teaching even looked like and how to balance both remote and hybrid teaching. It was a dark time for many with no answers coming from administration and many left on their own to figure it out.”

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