Cancienne seen as right for St. James schools

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 9, 1999

By SANDY SEAL / L’Observateur / May 9, 1999

GRAMERCY – Lloyd LeBlanc said he believes the St. James Parish SchoolBoard made the right choice when it selected P. Edward Cancienne its newsuperintendent.

“The man who got the job was the best qualified,” said LeBlanc, the District 1 school board member. “He was head and shoulders above therest. His record is unblemished in what he has done with AssumptionParish.”Cancienne has served as superintendent of Assumption Parish Schools for 10 years. For eight years prior he worked in various capacities at thestate Department of Education.

Cancienne was one of three finalists selected for the school system’s top job, joining interim superintendent Walter Landry and St. John SchoolSystem personnel director Alfred Donaldson. Each was interviewed by theschool board days before the vote.

When the vote was taken last week at the meeting at Fifth Ward Elementary School, five members voted for Cancienne and two – George Nassar Jr. and Willis Octave – voted for Landry. After the vote Nassar andOctave agreed to make the vote for Cancienne unanimous.

Many residents in the parish supported the permanent appointment of Landry, who was put in the superintendent’s job on an interim basis when John Boughton retired last summer. He was given a one-year contract atthat time, and the school board said it would look for a new superintendent in the months to come.

But while many supported Landry and those supporters in attendance at the school board were visibly upset by the board’s action, LeBlanc said many St. James Parish residents were not in favor of Landry getting thejob on a permanent basis.

“I had numerous phone calls the day before the appointment,” LeBlanc said, “and only one was in favor of Mr. Landry.”LeBlanc, who admits he hasn’t seen eye to eye with Landry since he became interim superintendent, said he would have supported Landry fully if he had been the most qualified candidate.

LeBlanc said Landry “did a fantastic job” when he was in charge of transportation and child welfare for the school system, the job he held before his appointment last summer.

“But the way Mr. Landry was elected (as interim superintendent) was arailroad job,” LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc said Landry was put in office unexpectantly by four school board members even though he had not submitted an application, a resume or a list of qualifications before that time.

“We wanted to smooth things out until the end of the year,” LeBlanc said, “and we tried to get Boughton to stay on.”But four school board members saw to it that wouldn’t happen, he said.

LeBlanc said Landry did finally submit his resume and certifications a month after his appointment and was certified to hold the job.

On Tuesday, the board will meet at the school board office in Lutcher and, among other items, discuss Cancienne’s contract.

Return To News Stories