By Steven Ward
and Faimon A. Roberts III
Advocate staff writers
August 15, 2012
Parkview Baptist School headmaster Melanie Ezell has been removed by the Baton Rouge private school’s board of directors, a board member said Tuesday morning.
Ezell, who has served as the school’s headmaster for five years and three months, is no longer an employee of the school, said Huey Beason, acting board president.
When asked why the board voted to remove Ezell, Beason said members decided they wanted to go “in a different direction.”
The decision was made Monday night at a special board meeting, said Joni Owens, a school spokeswoman. Ezell did not attend the meeting, Owens said.
Owens could not say under what terms Ezell left the school, the largest private school in Louisiana. “The details of the separation have not been released,” Owens said.
Beason would not comment on how the board members voted individually.
Will Williams, former board president, will serve as school headmaster until an interim is named, Beason said.
Beason said the board hopes to have an interim headmaster in 30 days. He said Williams was present at the meeting but he did not vote on the change.
Ezell’s contract with the school was renewed in June for a year, Beason said.
Ezell did not return calls to her office, cell and home phones from The Advocate seeking comment Tuesday.
However, in a statement to WBRZ-TV, Ezell said “I reserve comment at this time at the advice of someone else.”
Prior to joining Parkview Baptist School, Ezell served 14 years at The Dunham School, including stints as head of its elementary, middle and high schools, and three years as interim headmaster. During her time as headmaster, Dunham earned a Blue Ribbon school of excellence honor from the U.S. Department of Education.
Ezell replaced former Superintendent Kenny Payne, whom the Parkview Baptist School board ousted in March 2007, saying they had “a difference of opinion regarding the means and methods of enforcing school policy.”
In July 2005, the board forced the early retirement of Payne’s predecessor, Derrell Hill.
In June 2011, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, in partnership with the Southern Association of Independent Schools, approved the dual accreditation for Parkview Baptist School.
Parkview joined 345 other independent schools in 11 states, including Dunham and Episcopal High School, in having this dual accreditation.
Parkview Baptist School, 5750 Parkview Church Road, enrolled about 1,450 students in grades kindergarten to 12 in 2010. It’s divided into elementary, middle and high schools.
The school is on Jefferson Highway near Airline Highway.