Corona stepping down as WBR school superintendent

West Baton Rouge Parish School Superintendent David Corona announced Wednesday that he’s retiring from the school system effective in July, saying it’s time to pass the torch to someone who can “take the district to the next level.”

Corona made the announcement on his 65th birthday during the School Board’s regular meeting Wednesday night.

Corona, who will have served as the school district’s superintendent for 10 years when he retires, said he feels it’s time to pass the torch on to someone else with a fresher set of ideas who can build upon the school district’s positive momentum toward educational success.

School Board President Jason Manola thanked Corona for his service and said the School Board will start holding meetings soon to determine how to go about hiring his replacement.

“The only job of this board is selecting a new superintendent,” Manola said at Wednesday’s meeting.

“We want a good, fair process so we can get the best possible leader. We want to get someone in here before David leaves for an easier transition.”

The School Board hired an outside firm and conducted a nationwide search 10 years when it hired Corona in 2004.

During his tenure, the school district as a whole went from a “D” grade by the Louisiana Department of Education to a “B” in 2012, according to the Department of Education’s annual district performance reports.

“It was important for me to retire at the right time for me and the school system,” Corona said before Wednesday night’s meeting. “It’s time for someone else to take over and take the school district to the next level.”

Corona, a native of West Baton Rouge Parish, doesn’t take personal credit for the better scores on the state Department of Education’s performance.

Instead, he attributes the success to the parish’s teachers, administrators and the School Board.

“People like me are just providing the support for people that stand in front of the children every day,” he said. “We have good quality people teaching children and they are supported by the administration.”

Corona, who has worked in education for more than 40 years, described his decade-long tenure with West Baton Rouge Parish Schools as “the most productive and satisfying professional years of my life.”

Corona accepted the school superintendent post in West Baton Rouge Parish after serving as the assistant superintendent for high schools in East Baton Rouge Parish from 1995 to 2004.

He worked as a math teacher and coach at Tara High School for 18 years before that.

Corona said he has no immediate post retirement plans.

“For a period of time I’ll be doing nothing but playing golf with my buddies and going to Florida to visit my grandkids,” he said. “After that we’ll see what life brings.”