ZACHARY — In an 8-1 vote Thursday, the Zachary Community School Board chose Scott Devillier to succeed Warren Drake as the district’s superintendent.
Devillier, 46, has been the district’s director of operations since 2010 and has been employed by the district since it began operations in July 2003.
Devillier received votes from board members David Dayton, Gaynell Young, Donnie Dykes, Boyce Smith, Jannie Rogers, Hubie Owen, Sharon Samuel and Scott Swilley.
Kenneth Mackie voted for finalist Patrick D. Jenkins, principal of Zachary’s Port Hudson Career Academy.
After the initial vote, Mackie moved for a unanimous vote of support for Devillier.
“I’m excited to lead this district. This district is a model of excellence,” Devillier said after the vote.
“I promise we will work harder than anyone has ever worked to make it even better than it is now.”
Jenkins said the board faced a difficult decision in replacing Drake.
“It was a great experience,” Jenkins said.
“I will be there to support Mr. Devillier. This is not my time to lead, but I’m ready to follow,” Jenkins said.
Drake officially retired Sept. 4 but took a network leader’s position with the state Department of Education. He became the district’s first paid, full-time superintendent in August 2002.
State Education Department officials announced this week that Zachary is the top-ranked school system in Louisiana for the eighth consecutive year.
Devillier, who lives in Pointe Coupee Parish, received a Bachelor of Science degree from LSU in 1989, majoring in physical education and biology. He earned a Master’s degree in educational administration and supervision at Southern University in May 2002.
He was an athletic director, teacher and coach at Catholic High in Pointe Coupee from July 1989 to June 1998, and from July 1998 to June 2003, he was a teacher, coach and high school assistant principal.
He initially served as an assistant principal and later director of home and school relations for Zachary. He served one year as principal of Zachary High School before moving into a new position, director of operations.
As operations director, Devillier was responsible for supervising the district’s ongoing construction projects, maintenance, food service and school-home relations, risk management, transportation and career and technical education.
In an Oct. 16 interview with the board, Devillier said he wants to hire an executive director of academics to help him go to each school, talk to principals, curriculum teams and develop plans for academic improvement.
“We’ve been good for the last nine years, but the game has changed. We have to evaluate where we are because we’re not competing any more to be the No. 1 school district in the state. We’re competing on a national level,” Devillier said.
The board chose Devillier, Jenkins and former district academic director Michelle Clayton as the three finalists for the post, but Clayton withdrew from contention.
Eleven people applied for the job when the board began accepting applications in August.