Board picks Millet

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008

After nationwide search, St. John stays local


Staff Reporter

RESERVE- After more than five months, a nationwide search, and numerous interviews by focus groups and the St. John School Board, it still took an hour of deliberation in executive session for the School Board to put an end to the search for the next superintendent of the St. John school system during their meeting Thursday night.

Still the decision did not appear to be any easier.

After returning from executive session, Matthew Ory moved to offer the position to Dr. Courtney Millet, the current curriculum director and 20-year veteran of the St. John School system, as well as the only local candidate for the position. Board Member

Clarence Triche made a quick second to Ory’s motion.

Patrick Sanders then made a substitute motion to offer the position to Dr. John Garris, the current principal of Newark Evening High School in Newark, NJ. Board member Phillip Johnson seconded Sander’s motion.

By a vote-machine count board members voted 6-5 against Garris. Yea votes were by Sanders, Johnson, Russell Jack, Ali Burl and Keith Jones with nay votes by Ory, Triche, James Madere, Russ Wise, Gerald Keller and Lowell Bacas.

With Garris out of the picture the board then voted 7-3 with one abstention in favor of Millet. Yea votes were by Ory, Triche, Madere, Wise, Keller, Bacas and Jones and nay votes by Sanders, Johnson and Jack. Burl was the lone abstention.

“I have to be in agreement with the decision,” said Sanders. “He (Garris) had some qualities that interested us.”

In response to the contentious votes, Millet said, “I think they want what’s best and I want what’s best.”

Wise said there was some discussion about bringing the two candidates back for a second round of interviews, but in the end the board decided to bring it to an immediate vote.

“I am pleased with the decision, but more than that I am pleased with the process,” said Wise. “The conversation was based on the merits of the candidates rather than their popularity.”

Millet will formally take over the position after Michael Coburn is released from his contract July 1, 2008.

In other board business, long time Board Member Dowie Gendron was officially recognized by the board for his service to the parish educational system. Family members of Gendron’s were present to accept a plaque commemorating his service. Gendron stepped down from the board last month due to illness.

The board accepted an official completion for the renovation and upgrade of the East St. John High baseball facilities. Also accepted was the financial compliance of the school system as public document.

In final business authorization was granted for proposals of leasing the school system’s section 16th property for alligator hunting and egg collecting.