Search begins for the next superintendent

Published 9:56 am Saturday, September 2, 2023

RESERVE — The search is on once again for a superintendent to lead St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools.

A timeline approved by the School Board during last week’s meeting in LaPlace designates November 30 as the day the next superintendent will be selected.

The superintendent will be charged with leading nearly 5,000 students across 10 schools and three program sites.

Over the next few weeks, the superintendent position will be advertised in L’OBSERVATEUR and the Advocate. According to the advertisement, applicants must be certified or eligible for immediate certification by the Louisiana Department of Education to serve as a school superintendent in the state. The School Board promises “an extremely competitive salary” and a “comprehensive, multi-year contract” to the successful applicant.

The deadline for applications will be October 27, and applications will be retrieved from P.O. Drawer 526 in Reserve on November 1. By November 9, the School Board will decide and announce which candidates will be interviewed.

The first round of interviews will take place November 13-16. A second round of interviews, if necessary, will be held November 27-30, with the intent to name a superintendent during a special School Board meeting on the 30th. If necessary, the third round of interviews would take place on November 30.

During last week’s meeting, District Four School Board member Raydel Morris suggested including additional experience requirements for the superintendent position in the advertisement,

“We’ve been advertising for years now with the same advertisement,” he said. “We need to do something different to find a superintendent we are going to keep.”

District Eight Board member Debbie Schum said those considerations would be better suited for the interview stage.

“I would be concerned if we added something that caused less people to apply rather than more. I think if we leave it as is, we will get the broadest range of applicants that we will screen through,” she said.

Patricia Triche, who represents District Three, reminded her fellow board members that the advertisement for the superintendent search must follow guidelines laid out by the Louisiana Department of Education.

Morris said he understood waiting until the interview stage to vet the candidates, adding that he wants to do whatever is best for the district.

St. John the Baptist Parish Schools have not had a long-term superintendent since Kevin George departed the district in Summer 2019. The initial search process was restarted in late 2019 and culminated with the hiring of Dr. Lynett Hookfin in 2020. Dr. Hookfin led the district for just under two years before resigning in May 2022.

Rebecca Johnson was appointed interim superintendent following Dr. Hookfin’s resignation. Johnson was officially hired as superintendent in December 2022, and she notified the School Board of her resignation on July 21, 2023.

Kendria Spears currently holds the title of interim superintendent.