Fifth Ward leader resigns days before school starts, assistant principal promoted

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, August 8, 2018

RESERVE — Students at one of the more challenged locations of St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools were dealt a blow this week when their principal resigned four days before the academic year began.

Fifth Ward Elementary Principal Toni Wilson resigned Saturday. Fifth Ward’s academic year for students began Wednesday.

Wilson’s hiring was announced in April.

According to Superintendent Kevin George, Wilson did not give a reason for her resignation. She did not respond to L’OBSERVATEUR’s request for comment Tuesday morning.

It was only 12 days ago that Wilson met with a L’OBSERVATEUR reporter and detailed her plans for the school.

During the interview, she did not hint of any misgivings or foretell of her ultimate decision to leave the school.

She had worked for the last 15 years with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, serving as an elementary school principal for the last six.

Wilson is no longer employed by the School District.

Dr. Brandy Vaughn was named the new principal after serving as the school’s assistant principal in preparation of this school year.

She was a master teacher at Emily C. Watkins Elementary in 2017-18, according to George.

District leaders have previously said Fifth Ward presents a unique challenge as the lowest performing public school in St. John with the highest percentage of students coming from poverty.

During this school year, students are expected to receive additional one-on-one time with instructors and a chance to complete and correct classroom assignments during extension writing/social studies and math/science enrichment periods.

Fifth Ward Elementary is located on Panther Drive in Reserve and serves students in kindergarten through fourth grades.