If you want to measure organizational good or ill health, there is hardly a better indicator than employee morale. If it is measured properly, morale correlates with efficiency and effectiveness. The measurement is valid and reliable.
Morale among APS teachers, and I would assume; most employees, is at an all time low. A recent speaker at a board meeting public forum, reported that it is as low as he has seen in a third of a century in APS.
It is the APS school boards' want and custom, to expect superintendents to mitigate problems without admitting their existence, up to and including actually covering up problems; i.e. the corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS police force. And, certainly without developing any hard data of the problem that might be used hold administrators and school board members accountable for their part in the problem.
Raising morale, of necessity, will be one of Valentino's top priorities. It stands to reason that the new supt will do everything he can think of, to raise morale.
As an aside; low morale is not an inevitable result of bad circumstances. History is replete with examples of good leaders maintaining morale in awful circumstances.
Low morale and poor leadership however, do correlate. If morale is low, there is a good chance that it is the proximate result of leadership that is incompetent or corrupt.
It is telling that with all the hullabaloo surrounding the evaluation of teachers, there isn't a commensurate clamor over evaluating administrators - and school board members! It is typical of good ol' by oligarchies; the more power you have; the fewer times you get evaluated and the less critically.Valentino will not gather hard data. He would not have been hired if the board expected him to start compiling real data on the many problems in the APS that can be traced back to poor policy and or inadequate administration of those policies.
Instead, Valentino, he says, will wander the district "listening".
Listening is fine if the goal is to make a relative handful of people feel like they were "listened to". Is that really the best use of his time, is that what Valentino needs to be doing; making a few people feel listened to?
Listening, gathering data upon which to base later decision making, can be displayed on a continuum. On the left, standing there with your fingers in your ears. In the low middle somewhere; "listening", and on the high end of the continuum you have scientific data gathering; well written and executed surveys.
Valentino, could ask for surveys of stake and interest holders. The results could be used to help him identify objectives and articulate meaningful goals.
The board, if they didn't have conflicting interests,
could just go ahead and do the surveys in anticipation of his arrival. The results could be ready to discuss and take action upon.
They won't of course, and neither likely will he.