Heidi Trosclair named interim superintendent

Published 12:10 am Saturday, June 15, 2019

RESERVE — From the moment Heidi Trosclair walked through the doors of LaPlace Elementary School as a kindergartener 48 years ago, St. John the Baptist Parish has been in her blood.

Trosclair walked across the stage as an East St. John High School graduate knowing she would return to the school system. Without ever interviewing for other parishes, she started work as a classroom teacher for St. John Public Schools immediately after graduating college.

Through the years, she’s been an elementary teacher, a high school teacher, staff development teacher, coordinator, executive director and, most recently, assistant superintendent of St. John Parish Schools.

Now, she will lead the school system as interim superintendent through the summer and the start of the 2019-2020 school year, filling the vacancy left by departing Superintendent Kevin George.

Thursday was George’s last day with St. John Parish schools, and his resignation was finalized during the June 13 St. John Parish School Board meeting in Reserve.

Just three days ago, George announced he was accepting an interim CEO position with New Beginnings School Foundation, a New Orleans charter organization. However, he announced his intent to leave the school system last month, noting a recent death in his family made him reconsider what he wanted to do with the rest of his career.

The St. John School Board voted 10-1 to name Trosclair the interim superintendent Thursday night. Board member Ali Burl was the lone dissenting vote, and he voiced concerns about the board jumping the gun in naming a replacement so quickly.

Other school board members were optimistic about Trosclair’s ability to steer the ship while the search for a permanent superintendent begins.

School Board president Patrick Sanders said the Board will meet with Trosclair next week to iron out all the details of her temporary contract.

“We’re going to make all the necessary changes to her present job description to make sure that it does say interim,” Sanders said. “We’ll work out all the financial details. To make it clear, it is an interim contract. Ms. Trosclair is not seeking a full-time position with this district as superintendent. We’re bringing a sense of stability to the district at this point as we go through the summer months so our school can operate in a positive manner starting in August.”

The St. John School Board will meet in an executive committee Tuesday morning to draft a timeline of naming a new superintendent. Sanders told L’OBSERVATEUR early this week that the decision would likely not be made by August.

In the meantime, Trosclair is humbled to take on the interim position. She said her focus has been the same since day one, when she joined the school system as a first-grade teacher to fill the role of a departing educator.

“Since that day, everyone in this room can attest, it’s about the students for me,” Trosclair said. “My focus has never wavered. I tell this board now, when you come to meet with me about anything, my question is going to be, ‘How does this decision impact the kids?’”

Trosclair was humbled to be selected for the position, which she plans to conduct with passion and attention to policy and procedure.

“Rest assured that for the next few months or whatever time I’m here to sit in this chair that I will not waver from that focus,” Trosclair said. “This parish courses through my veins, and I am here for you guys, for the employees, for the administrators, for the teachers, for any staff members and Central Office staff but especially for the kids.”

Board member Keith Jones noted Trosclair had the respect of the School Board and of community members, evidenced by the welcoming round of applause she received after being named to the position.

School Board member Nia Mitchell said School District employees are as energized as ever, and she assured the public that work would not cease because of the shift in leadership.

Sanders said School Board members are using a public survey to identify characteristics of the next St. John superintendent.

More than 500 responses have come in so far since the survey went live Tuesday. The survey can be accessed through June 23 at surveymonkey.com/r/9LJTDRX.

The School Board’s legal team cautioned participants to not use identifying information in the responses, which will become public record once all responses are in.

Names and identifying information regarding children will be redacted once the information is compiled, according to the legal counsel.