Tommy Chang gets good marks in first job review

Boston schools Superintendent Tommy Chang.
Boston schools Superintendent Tommy Chang.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

Boston Superintendent Tommy Chang received favorable marks Wednesday night on his first performance evaluation from the School Committee, which determined that he has laid a strong foundation to lead the school system into the future.

Overall, Chang earned a rating of proficient, the second-highest of four scoring categories. That is good enough for Chang to receive a 2 percent merit raise under his contract. Currently, Chang makes $257,000 annually.

The School Committee could vote as soon as its next meeting on Oct. 5 on giving Chang the raise.

“We have a stellar superintendent in Dr. Chang,” committee member Regina Robinson, who oversaw his evaluation process, said in remarks to her colleagues Wednesday night’s meeting. “I want to celebrate and applaud your efforts.”


Chang garnered his highest marks in instructional leadership, management and operations, and professional culture, receiving a rating of proficient from most members. But Chang had less success with family and community engagement, with six members rating him as needing improvement in those areas.

However, that rating — the second-lowest possible score — indicates that Chang is still on track of being proficient in that area within three years, according to the review.

Chang, who as part of the evaluation process was required to rate his own performance, offered a more glowing assessment. He rated himself exemplary — the highest rating — for instructional leadership and professional culture, while finding himself proficient for management and operations, and family and community engagement.

“I’m extremely grateful to be leading the first school district in the country,” Chang told the committee.

Chang’s performance review comes at the end of a somewhat tumultuous first year on the job. The school system grappled with accusations of racial discrimination at Boston Latin School, elevated levels of lead in drinking water at several schools, and steep budget cuts that prompted student walkouts and parent protests.


In between dealing with those crises, Chang has been putting together a comprehensive educational improvement plan for the district that will be the guiding force for a long-term master facilities plan. The plan will call for the construction of schools and could potentially lead to the closing of some buildings.

He also has been striving to bolster the support for students experiencing trauma.

Chang, who never previously served as a superintendent, came to Boston from the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“No one could have predicted the challenges faced by the district, yet due to the foundation of listening and learning, implementing the ‘Culture of We’ and reflective responses to the public, Dr. Chang has created a culture where every voice has the opportunity to be engaged,” according to a copy of Chang’s review.

James Vaznis can be reached at jvaznis@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globevaznis.