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Landry to propose 40 special programs

By Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / May 4, 1998

LUTCHER – Walter Landry, current operations and maintenance supervisor, has big plans for the St. James Parish Public School System.He was recently chosen by school board members to serve as interim superintendent beginning July 1, replacing John Boughton, who is retiring.

Landry, 53, has been a St. James School System administrator since 1980and was in the system as a librarian and reading teacher for 10 years before that at Lutcher High, St. James High and St. James Junior Highschools.

After his stint in the schools he was promoted to child welfare and attendance/transportation supervisor, and five years later he was promoted to operations and maintenance area supervisor.

Before he went to work for the school system he was a lab technician at Union Carbide.

“My love was with the teaching profession,” Landry said. “That’s why Icame back, because I was making a lot more money in industry.”Landry plans to propose over 40 special programs to the board all wrapped up in one five-year plan.

“The plan is to determine in which direction we want to go, whether I’m here for five years or not,” he said.

Some of the special programs he plans to implement, board-allowing, when he takes over include requiring seniors to have 10 hours of community service before graduating, an annual ACT summit, a principal’s academy, ROTC programs, 5 percent budget reduction, a magnet school, elimination of suspension, full-time security for schools, expansion of the zero tolerance program, a broad public relations program and a student advisory board.

Eventually Landry foresees only after-school detentions and an alternative center for problem students instead of suspensions or expulsions. Landrysaid he doesn’t think suspension or expulsion is a way to improve the behavior of students with problems.

After a student attends four after-school detentions the alternative school would come in, Landry said.

“We can put them in the center,” he said, “and there we can counsel them.

It helps the teachers move on because you can’t have that kind of disturbance in the classroom.”This idea is only one display of Landry’s “no-nonsense” attitude.

“People sometimes don’t understand me,” he said. “But I don’t take anynonsense. It’s my plan to run this system like a business. It’s a bigchallenge, but I will rise to the occasion.”Besides the 40 special programs Landry plans to ask the board permission to implement, he also will have over 70 basic operational principles. Oneof these, he said, is that teachers must have control in their classrooms.

He also plans to hold everyone accountable, right down to sick days.

“My office will be open,” he said. “I’m going to run it like a business andbe fair.”

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