Now it’s all up to the school board

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 7, 2012

Dr. Courtney Millet surprised many in the community this week when she announced she would be stepping down as the superintendent of St. John the Baptist Parish schools.

Since she was named superintendent, Millet has overseen many successes in the system. All the parish’s public schools are labeled “academically acceptable” by the state, the District Performance Score has risen 17 points, student-based initiatives such as dual enrollment have grown exponentially, and the major overhaul of the district’s educational facilities is nearly complete. St. John’s is undoubtedly a better school system today than the one she inherited.

Unfortunately, Millet’s relationship with members of the St. John Parish School Board was often not as rosy. Many board members have openly objected to some of her methods and seemed to bristle, especially when they thought she overstepped her authority and usurped a little of their power. Some meetings degenerated into name-calling sessions, and the distress this caused was always clear on Millet’s face. While she has not said as much, this surely played a role in Millet’s decision to accept a position with St. Charles Catholic High School, which does not answer to the Parish School Board.

Regardless, the school board must now begin a search for Millet’s replacement. While the details have yet to be hammered out, the board has many options open to it regarding the search. The last time around, a national search was conducted and an outside firm was brought in to aid in the process. This time, the school board may choose to conduct the process on their own or narrow the field of candidates.

Whatever the board chooses, let’s hope they are not just seeking a yes man, who will bend to their every whim. The best leaders are those who surround themselves with people who will challenge them and bring new ideas to the table.