Frontier Regional, Union 38 school committees praise superintendent’s performance


Staff Writer
Friday, July 24, 2020

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Superintendent Darius Modestow of the Frontier Regional and Union 38 districts received nearly all “exemplary” or “proficient” ratings by school committee members in their review of his performance over the last year and a half.

Of the four performance indicators Modestow was rated on — instructional leadership progress, management and operations, family and community engagement, and professional culture — the only indicator for which he received any ratings from individual members of less than proficient was in family and community engagement.

The review was accepted at the Union 38 School Committee and Frontier School Committee meetings held July 15 and 16, respectively.

Of the 17 responses in the family and community engagement category, Modestow received one “needs improvement” rating. Six responses indicated he was “exemplary”; 10 indicated he was “proficient.”

A number of comments throughout the review indicated approval of how Modestow has handled the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools across Deerfield, Sunderland, Whately and Conway.

, noting that he facilitated a smooth transition from in-class learning to remote instruction.

Deerfield School Committee member Trevor McDaniel said at Wednesday’s Union 38 School Committee meeting that he has appreciated Modestow’s commitment to communication.

“I have not done this job as long as many others, but in the four or five years I’ve been on the School Committee, I’m just so blown away at the level of communication and care that he has for our students,” McDaniel said. “I can’t think of a better leader to take us through this horrendous pandemic. … We’re all learning together and I’m thrilled he’s guiding us.”

Modestow was appointed to the role in January 2019 after the Frontier Regional and Union 38 school committees opted to suspend their search for a new superintendent of schools and appoint the former principal of Frontier.

“I do want to correct anywhere I go astray,” Modestow said on Wednesday, thanking committee members for their review of his performance. “It’s not an easy job, it’s not a perfect job, and I know I misstep along the way. … When I don’t get feedback, I don’t know where I need to steer things, so continue to give me that advice.”