LAFAYETTE — State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Lottie Beebe is in the small pool of three educators vying for the position of superintendent of St. Martin Parish Schools.
Applicants also include former Pointe Coupee Parish Superintendent Daniel Rawls and Charles Michel, Lafourche parish supervisor of special education.
Since 2010, Rawls has worked as principal of Stephensville Elementary School in St. Martin Parish.
The School Board could make its choice by January if it moves up its interviews to before the Christmas break, said James Blanchard, St. Martin Parish School Board president.
Blanchard said the board had considered conducting interviews in January, but moving up the timeline would allow more time for the new hire to train with Superintendent Richard Lavergne, who retires June 30.
Lavergne was appointed superintendent in April 2007 and will retire with 33 years in public school education and a total of 39 years as an educator.
Beebe has worked as the parish’s human resources director since 2003.
To avoid a potential conflict of interest, Lavergne’s office handled the application process and the superintendent also reviewed the applicants’ credentials, Lavergne said Friday.
Beebe began her term as a BESE District 3 member in January and said Friday that if selected superintendent, she’d continue to serve on the state board.
“I feel my experience of 28 years will enable me to handle all responsibilities effectively,” Beebe said.
If she gets the job, she wouldn’t be the only seated BESE member who also leads a school district.
District 4 BESE member Walter Lee has had a seat on the state board since elected in 1991 and during that time has served as a superintendent of either DeSoto or Caddo Parish School systems.
He currently oversees operations in DeSoto.
Lee, who is the longest-serving BESE member, said Friday that the dual roles have provided a deeper insight that’s assisted him in both roles.
Lee has a total of 33 years experience as a parish schools superintendent.
“I think it has been beneficial for my knowledge standpoint that I have more knowledge I think than other superintendents about what’s happening across the state,” he said. “I don’t see any conflict. In fact, it probably causes me to be a little more careful ... and I try not to influence the board with what I would like to see happen in DeSoto.”
The state’s Dual Office Holding law provides an exemption that enables School Board employees to also hold an appointive or elective office.
Lee said he sought opinions on the issue from the Attorney General’s Office and the Louisiana Board of Ethics prior to running for office in 1991.
A copy of the attorney general’s opinion cited the Dual Office Holding exemption for school board employees and also cited no conflicts in its review of the powers and functions of both positions.
Rawls began his teaching career in 1973 and also has held superintendent positions in DeSoto Parish and Vermilion Parish.
His longest job as superintendent was in Pointe Coupee Parish, where he worked from 2004-2009.
Beebe started her career in St. Landry Parish in 1984 as a teacher at Palmetto Elementary. In 1998, she began her administrative career with the St. Martin Parish School System as an assistant principal.
Michel started teaching in 1984 and has about 20 years of administrative experience, including assistant deputy superintendent of accountability for the New Orleans Recovery School District from July to December 2007.