Donaldson gets top school post

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 20, 1999

By MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / March 20, 1999

RESERVE – While the debate not to renew St. John the Baptist ParishSchool Superintendent Cleveland Farlough’s contract was a long one last month, the naming of his successor was quick at the St. John ParishSchool Board meeting Thursday night.

Chris Donaldson, associate superintendent of schools and a former principal of The Glade School, was nominated by board member John Cross after board president Richard DeLong called for nominations. Matthew Oryseconded the nomination and the motion was passed 10-0 by the board.

There was no debate.

“I am deeply humbled and honored by the confidence you have in me to appoint me to such an important position,” Donaldson said. “I thank youand I promise you 110 percent effort. I promise you I consider this a veryimportant position and will take it seriously. I am excited for theopportunity to take a leadership role in such a critical time in public education in Louisiana.”Donaldson also thanked Farlough for giving him the opportunity to become associate superintendent. Donaldson has served in that capacity the lastfour years.

“It has been a real pleasure to work with Mr. Farlough,” Donaldson said.The board voted at its Feb. 2 meeting not to renew Farlough’s contract,which expires June 30, and to advertise for the position of superintendent with a four-year contract. Farlough had been working under one-yearcontracts the last two years.

Donaldson takes over his new position July 1, and Farlough said he will have his full support.

“We have been working well together and he has been very supportive of my efforts,” Farlough said. “Anything I can do to help him, I will do.”In other action, the board approved the administration’s five-year strategic plan. Objectives included in the plan include that all parishpublic schools will meet or exceed the state accountability standards and that the school board will increase its classroom instructional expenditures by 10 percent. Farlough said a committee will meet April 6to work on how to arrive at those goals.

Ory wanted to wait until after that meeting to approve the strategic plans, saying it currently is not a plan but just a list of goals and objectives. Board member Gerald Keller said there were also nomeasurable levels in the objectives.

“I commend Mr. Farlough and his staff, but it needs to go a bit further,especially in measurement standards,” he said.

But board member Clarence Triche pointed out that this is just the start of the process.

“This just the beginning,” Triche said. “One it is adopted, everyone willfill in where we have to go.”The board also approved East St. John Elementary’s request to implement amandatory school uniform policy for the 1999-2000 school year and also heard a request by Leon Godchaux Junior High to have school uniforms.

That request will be voted on at the board’s next meeting.

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