Four Baton Rouge public schools have new principals, with the new leader of Broadmoor Middle School arriving fresh from a highly public firing just weeks after taking over a small high school in New Orleans.
The schools with new principals are Broadmoor and Scotlandville middle schools, and Glen Oaks and Woodlawn high schools. The previous leaders of the two high schools were reassigned midyear, something that happens rarely because of the potential for staff and student disruption.
The East Baton Rouge Parish school system reported the leadership changes in response to a request for information from The Advocate.
The new principal assigned to Broadmoor Middle School, Gavin Lewis Sr., made the news earlier this month after he was abruptly ousted from the principal’s position he had this past summer at Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans. Several members of his staff were fired the same day.
Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard told The Advocate he had conducted an extensive review of the school, but wouldn’t say what prompted him to remove Lewis and several members of his staff. To replace Lewis’ team, Dobard brought in a national charter school group already running a program at a nearby high school.
The abrupt firings sparked a student walkout and days of protests.
Lewis has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a master’s degree from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans. The East Baton Rouge Parish school system reports that Lewis has served as an administrator, principal, dean of students and teacher in secondary schools throughout Louisiana.
Lewis replaces Denise Charbonnet. She also moved from New Orleans to become principal of Broadmoor Middle and ran the school for two years. Charbonnet left on Oct. 8 to take a position in Norfolk, Va., as that school district’s executive director of secondary schools.
Edwin Chastang, principal of Scotlandville Middle Pre-Engineering Academy, a magnet school, transferred Wednesday to an assistant principal position with Glasgow Middle School.
Karen Williams-Ross is now Scotlandville Middle’s acting principal; she served last year as principal of Dalton Elementary, then a charter school run by the now-defunct nonprofit Advance Baton Rouge.
Meanwhile, Glen Oaks High Principal Onetha Albert, who just started in June, and Woodlawn High Principal Jimmy Newman, who has been principal there since 2006, have been reassigned to other jobs.
Albert, who left her old job on Oct. 5, now oversees high school professional development. Prior to coming to Glen Oaks, Albert had spent the 2011-12 school year as principal of Capitol High, and before that served as principal at Scotlandville Middle.
Newman, whose last day at Woodlawn was Sept. 11, is now a special education supervisor.
Albert and Newman have been replaced by Prince E. Gray Jr. and Daniel Edwards, respectively. Gray and Edwards both started their new jobs on Oct. 8. Both were assistant principals before, Gray at St. Amant High in Ascension Parish and Edwards at McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School.
These four leadership changes are the latest in a series of personnel changes made by Superintendent Bernard Taylor since he began running the East Baton Rouge Parish school system in June. In July, Taylor appointed six other principals new to their schools.
Sonya Gordon, public information officer for the school system, would not offer any details of why Albert and Newman were replaced, saying they are “personnel matters.”
Glen Oaks and Woodlawn high schools have “D” ratings under the Louisiana Department of Education school accountability system, Broadmoor Middle has an “F”, and Scotlandville Middle is a “B” rated school.
Gray has held several educational administrative positions, including stints as principal at Kenilworth Middle School, assistant principal at North Iberville elementary and high schools and as an administrator with the state Office of Juvenile Justice. He has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Southern University.
Edwards, the new principal at Woodlawn High, holds a bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond and a master’s degree in administration and supervision from the University of Phoenix, and previously served in Iraq in the U.S. Army.