LAFAYETTE — Retirements, resignations and reorganization of school-level and district administrators have led to several new faces in the front offices of schools across the Lafayette Parish school district.
The flurry of new faces prompted School Board member Mark Allen Babineaux during the board’s meeting Wednesday to request a “Cajun Facebook” of the new hires, “after all the dust settles.” Seven new assistant principals were introduced to the board that night.
Babineaux requested a directory with pictures that identify the new leaders at schools and at the district’s central office.
Interviews for open positions continue with “a few small holes in terms of staffing,” Bruce Leininger, the district’s new human resources director, told the board.
Between May and the board meeting Wednesday, eight principals retired or resigned from the school system.
So far, interviews are still being conducted to fill one principal slot — at Ridge Elementary School. The application period for the job closed on Friday.
With a new state law that took effect July 1, School Board members no longer have the authority to vote up or down on hiring decisions; however, personnel changes are still posted with the board agenda for the public to view. At the meetings, Leininger also introduces new leaders to the board.
While the final say on hiring is out of the board’s hands, teachers now have a voice in who becomes their boss, Leininger has said. Teachers are able to attend the interviews and ask their prospective leaders questions, he has said.
Here’s a rundown of some of the school principal appointment changes made this summer:
- Alice Boucher Elementary: Laniaka Johnson replaces Keith Bartlett, who retired effective June 29.
- J.W. Faulk Elementary: Katrina Riley replaces Stephanie Francis.
- Truman Montessori: Stephanie Francis, former principal of Faulk, replaces acting principal Gwen Tate.
- Ridge Elementary: Applications closed Friday. Gwen Tate, former acting principal at Truman, briefly replaced Catherine Fulcher, who now oversees several schools as an academic officer. Tate resigned as principal of Ridge effective Aug. 10, the first day of school.
- Katherine Drexel Elementary: Denise Soileau replaces Kay Marix, who retired effective Aug. 24. Before the reorganization, Marix was the district’s director of elementary schools. She briefly replaced Drexel’s former principal, Jed Hebert, who resigned effective July 6.
- W.D. and Mary Baker Smith Career Center: Alicia Caesar, former district director of the federal PRIDE grant program, replaced Carol Mays, who retired.
- Milton Elementary/Middle School: Tia Trahan, former assistant principal at Gallet Elementary, replaces Suzanne Kebodeaux, who retired.
- L. Leo Judice Elementary: Angela Stewart replaces Rose Mary Landry, who retired.
- Acadiana High School: David LeJeune, former assistant principal at Comeaux High, replaces Martha “Nikki” Broussard, who retired.
- N.P. Moss Preparatory School: Jody Duhon, former principal of Charter High, is now the leader of a district program that will house all alternative programs, including the Charter High program.