Joseph named 2020 Superintendent of the Year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 30, 2019


LAPLACE — Kelli Joseph, originally from St. John the Baptist Parish, was recently named 2020 Superintendent of the Year by the Louisiana Association of School Executives.

She is the daughter of Whitney and Precious Joseph.

Joseph became superintendent of St. Helena Parish schools in 2011, while the District was fighting to gain local control of a school that had been placed in the Recovery School District. Severe budget issues, a desegregation case, low employee salaries and deplorable school and central office facilities were among the challenges she had to tackle after assuming a leadership position.

Joseph set out to provide opportunities for students in underperforming schools, restore public support for a struggling school system and address staffing and organizational issues.

She led an initiative that secured fiber optic Internet service for the school district. A $1.5 million dollar budget deficit was eliminated, and a balanced budget was obtained within three years.

Joseph also prepared and gained approval for tax renewals and new tax measures to increase pay and build new facilities. The beginning salary for teachers was increased by an impressive 27 percent. She secured $4 million in competitive grants to aid in instructional development and technology upgrades.

Through her efforts, the district regained control of the middle school grades from the Recovery School District. She helped St. Helena Schools obtain a unitary status, effectively ending one of the oldest desegregation cases in Louisiana.

Other initiatives Joseph headed include Breakfast in the Classroom and Lena’s Closet, a specialty boutique that provides free items for students.