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Board passes Landry’s first phase

Rebecca Burk Ellis / L’Observateur / June 29, 1998

LUTCHER – Although Walter Landry is only serving as Interim Superintendent of the St. James Parish Public School System for one year,he recently submitted a five-year plan to board members.

They only had a short time to digest it, Landry admitted at Tuesday night’s meeting, so he asked board members to only approve phase one of the plan, which deals with staffing in the central office.

The big change Landry pushed for is to change the current three departments to five departments.

The breakdown of Landry’s new departments, which requires more administrators, are business services, operation and maintenance, curriculum and instruction, auxiliary services and personnel, and child welfare and attendance.

Under Superintendent John Boughton, Assistant Superintendent Caldonia Ceasar handled curriculum and instruction, and there was no administrative director of business services.

Landry recommended the administrative director of business services be Lionel Porta, who currently works in the central office’s accounting department. He recommended Millie Matherne serve as administrativedirector of auxiliary services and personnel. Matherne currently holds thatposition.

School board members didn’t mind this, but when Landry pushed harder requesting new people to fill new positions, board members halted.

Board member Lloyd LeBlanc made a substitute motion to George Nassar’s original motion to accept all of Landry’s staffing requests. LeBlanc’samendment was to accept all of the changes, but instead of immediately placing someone in the open positions, he suggested the board advertise for employees to fill the administrative director of operations and maintenance, administrative director of curriculum and instruction and supervisor of operations/child welfare and attendance.

LeBlanc’s substitute was seconded by Richard Reulet and passed 5-2, with Nassar and Willis Octave voting against it.

“I think this is consistent to what this board has always done,” board member Kenneth Foret said. “We open the position and give everyone anopportunity.”Landry, who was recently selected as interim superintendent without any application or advertisement, also made a few other changes in school staffing in St. James Parish, which board members accepted. He moved St.James High School Principal Doris Jacobs to serve as principal of the alternative program, and Ridgely Mitchell, current Fifth Ward Elementary principal, will be principal of St. James High. Clara Harris will serve asacting principal of Fifth Ward.

Landry also wants to advertise and accept applications for administrative assistants at the four junior high schools and the lowest scoring schools – Romeville and Lutcher elementaries – in the parish.

Two positions that will stay the same are that Ceasar will still serve as assistant superintendent and Carolyn Weber will still be executive secretary.

Landry plans to ask for acceptance of other changes he has at upcoming meetings.

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