Coburn earns national award for Renaissance program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – St. John the Baptist Parish School Superintendent Michael Coburn has earned national recognition as the recipient of the Renaissance Learning Educational Leader of the Year for successfully implementing learning improvement programs in the district’s schools.

Coburn received the award at the Renaissance Learning Conference in Nashville, Tenn., which was held Feb. 9-12.

&#8220I am very honored to have received the award,” Coburn said. &#8220But so much of the credit for my success goes to those teachers, school principals and supervisors who have done everything I’ve asked of them – they’ve worked so hard to make sure that all of our students are improving.”

Renaissance Learning, Inc., which sponsors the annual award, is a national educational consulting firm that works with educators to develop school curriculums that accelerate learning for all students.

St. John Parish schools partnered with Renaissance two years ago under the leadership of Coburn.

&#8220Mr. Coburn has been committed to making sure that Renaissance’s implementation is successful,” said Debbie Hux, program manager for Renaissance Learning, Inc. &#8220He ‘s providing the leadership and vision that’s needed for the students to learn and reach their goals.”

Since taking over as superintendent in 2001, Coburn has seen consistent improvement in LEAP scores and graduation rates among St. John students.

However, he feels the school system can do even better.

&#8220One area we’re really trying to improve in is standardized tests,” Coburn said. &#8220Our scores have gone up every year for the past five years, but you can never be satisfied.”

While standardized test scores have improved each year, the average for St. John schools in LEAP testing is still below the state level in recent years – a trend Coburn is hoping to end this year.

&#8220Our kids care, and they’re working really hard,” Coburn said. &#8220But it’s not just the kids who have to want it, the parents have to understand it and want it for their children too.”

Coburn’s contract with St. John as superintendent will expire in 2008, but he says he would serve longer if given the opportunity.

&#8220Absolutely I would like to stay on after 2008. We have a lot of things on our plate we would still like to take care of,” Coburn said. &#8220I am at the mercy of the school board.”