LIVINGSTON — The candidate pool for Livingston Parish schools superintendent was narrowed to three Tuesday night, after a fourth candidate chose not to interview for the position.
Afreda Tomani Hygh, a teacher at Fair Park High School in Shreveport, was in the building during the School Board’s interview with another candidate but declined to interview when it was her turn, School Board President Malcolm Sibley said.
Sibley did not give a reason for Hygh’s refusal.
The board’s committee of the whole did interview Charles Michel on Tuesday for the position being vacated by the retirement of Superintendent Bill Spear.
Michel is the supervisor of special education for Lafourche Parish schools, a post he has held since December 2007.
He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a business minor and a master’s degree in education administration and supervision, both from Nicholls State University, as well as a doctorate in educational leadership, he said.
Michel said he applied for the Livingston superintendent job because he is “looking for a district that needs my particular set of skills.”
“My current position is not the one where I can effect the most change,” he said, noting that the Lafourche Parish superintendent is “very aware and very supportive” of his search.
Michel’s short-term goals for Livingston Parish schools would include focusing on test scores, fiscal stability and open communication with the board, school employees and the community, he said.
Describing himself as a facilitator, Michel said, “I learned a long time ago that I don’t have all the best ideas, but I do have a knack for bringing people together who have the best ideas.”
He cited trust, respect and communication as key facets of a superintendent’s relationship with a school board.
“With the new legislation this year, a lot of work has been put on the superintendent that was previously on the board, but nothing says you should not be informed prior to those actions,” Michel said.
Some of the district’s biggest challenges will be dealing with the effects of new state regulations, such as the value-added teacher evaluation model, voucher program and continually flat state funding for public school districts, he said.
Livingston school officials must be proactive about the district’s budget and maintaining or improving school performance scores “so we can have more control of our own destiny and operate as we need to,” Michel said.
The committee will interview two more candidates Wednesday: Donna Alleman, director of outreach for the Louisiana Schools for the Deaf and Visually Impaired in Baton Rouge; and John Watson, assistant superintendent for Livingston Parish schools.
The interviews will begin at 6 p.m. in the School Board’s conference room, 13909 Florida Blvd. in Livingston.