A FEW MINUTES WITH … Scott Devillier

Advocate staff photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK -- Zachary School Superintendent Scott Devillier.
Advocate staff photo by ARTHUR D. LAUCK -- Zachary School Superintendent Scott Devillier.

POSITION: Superintendent of the Zachary Community School District.

AGE: 47.

The Zachary Community School Board selected Scott Devillier on Oct. 26 to succeed Warren Drake as superintendent of schools. Devillier, who lives in the Pointe Coupee Parish community of Oscar, had been employed by the Zachary district since it officially split from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system in July 2003. He had been serving as the district’s operations director since 2010.

The Zachary school district has enjoyed phenomenal success since its inception. To what do you attribute this success?

There is no secret: It is the people who make this district successful. We have outstanding, dedicated teachers, committed students and parents and a supportive community that is behind us every step of the way.

Louisiana is one of the states aligning its core curricula with a national initiative called the Common Core State Standards. What effect will this have on Zachary’s teachers, students and parents?

The goal of the Common Core State Standards is to ultimately get every student college and career ready. This is in line with what we have already been working towards with our Journey to College and Career Program. There will definitely be an increase in professional development for our teachers, and we will be providing more training for our parents to let them know what changes to anticipate.

The state is changing the way many teachers are evaluated, linking the ratings to student achievement. How are Zachary teachers approaching these changes?

We have always had outstanding teachers. We are encouraging them to continue doing what they do best and build on the strong foundation that already exists.

Zachary voters have approved $129 million in construction bonds for a six-year period. Do you foresee a lull in construction after the current projects are finished, or will continued growth require more facilities?

Growth in our community seems to have stabilized at a manageable level. When construction completes in about a year and a half, we will able to accommodate at least 10 years of growth at our current rate.

Zachary has been the state’s top-ranked district for eight years, but is being challenged by Orleans Parish, a district that can choose, in many cases, the students who attend its schools and whose worst-performing schools are being run by the state Recovery School District. Should the Orleans Parish district pass Zachary in the rankings, what do you think the community’s reaction will be?

We are fortunate to have a strong level of trust from the people in this community to do what is right for their children. It’s not about being No. 1. Instead, we focus on doing what is best for kids each and every day.

Advocate staff writer James Minton