ZACHARY — Eleven educators from a total of six states have applied to be the superintendent of Louisiana’s top-ranked school district.
Warren Drake, superintendent of the Zachary Community School District for 10 years, left Tuesday to begin a new role as a state Education Department regional “network leader” to oversee efforts to set up new teacher reviews and a new curriculum.
The applicants include two people currently employed in the Zachary system, Scott Devillier and Patrick Jenkins, and a former Zachary system employee, Michelle Clayton.
The original deadline for applying was Aug. 29, but Hurricane Isaac forced the Zachary central office and schools to close for four days last week and delayed mail deliveries.
Human Resources Director Yolanda Williams planned to hold the application period open through Friday for any applicant who lives in an area hard-hit by the hurricane.
School Board members received thick packets Wednesday night containing the applications and supporting documents submitted by the 11 hopefuls.
The board plans to decide Thursday how many of the applicants it wants to interview in two sessions, Sept. 25-26.
Williams urged board members to carefully study the material the applicants submitted.
“This is probably going to be one of the toughest jobs we’re going to have to do: put a superintendent in Mr. Drake’s place,” Williams said.
After the interviews, the board plans an Oct. 4 special meeting to narrow the list to two or three finalists. On Oct. 16, the board plans another round of interviews and a “meet and greet” session to introduce the finalists to the public.
The board plans to vote Oct. 25 on its final choice.
Clayton, who has a doctorate in education, is working as an education consultant, but she was director of academic accountability, curriculum and instruction for Zachary schools from 2003 to this year.
Devillier has a master’s degree in education, is director of operations for Zachary schools and has been an assistant principal, high school principal and supervisor of school and home relations in Zachary since the district’s creation in 2003.
Jenkins, who also has a master’s in education, is the principal of the district’s Port Hudson Career Academy. He also has been assistant principal of Northwest Middle School and principal of Northwest Elementary and Zachary Elementary. He also served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Louisiana Army National Guard engineering officer.
Two other applicants are from Louisiana:
- Alonzo Luce, of Gonzales, superintendent of St. James Parish schools since 2007. He has a doctoral degree and held several positions at Istrouma Middle Magnet School.
- Charles Michel, of Metairie, supervisor of special education for the Lafourche Parish school system. He also has a doctoral degree.
Out-of-state applicants are:
- Phillip Burchfield, superintendent of Clinton Public Schools in Hinds County, Miss. He has a doctoral degree, and formerly served as superintendent of schools in Starkville, Miss.
- Arthur Gottlieb, of Queensbury, N.Y., an adjunct professor of biology and coordinator of licensure and education at the College of St. Joseph, Rutland, Vt. He has a master’s degree.
- Gregory Hutchings Jr., director of pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade initiatives for Alexandria city schools, Alexandria, Va. He has a doctoral degree in education and was named the 2009 principal of the year by the Tennessee Association of Middle Schools.
- Deborah Moran, of Kiln, Miss., who served as superintendent of Water Valley School District in Water Valley, Miss., and worked with the Hancock County, Miss., school system from 1994 to 2010. She has a doctoral degree.
- Arthur Stellar Jr., of Hingham, Mass. He has a doctoral degree and was superintendent of schools in Taunton, Mass., and Burke County, N.C.
- Darrell Treece, superintendent of Adair County Schools, Columbia, Ky., from 2003 until his retirement this year. He has a master’s degree in education.