School Board gets community’s input on superintendent search at public forum

The Natchitoches Parish School Board held a public forum Tuesday evening, Nov. 19, to gather input from parents, faculty, and community stakeholders regarding the 2020 Superintendent Search.

The board members started the forum off by stating that community buy-in is essential to make the search successful. The audience was small, around 40 people. The event was held at the NSU Middle Lab Auditorium, which seats 100-150 people. A larger turnout was anticipated, but one audience member said some parents can’t make events like the public forum because they don’t have the time in between work, errands, and taking care of their families.

Board members asked that anyone unable to attend the event reach out to them personally to share any input they have regarding the qualifications or characteristics they’d like the next superintendent to posses.

District 1 – Rhonda Guidroz:
District 2 – Tan’Keia Palmer
District 3 – Dorothy McGaskey
District 4 – Billy Benefield Jr.
District 5 – Katrina Willis:
District 6 – Reba Phelps
District 7 – Eugene Garner:
District 8 – Steven Harris:
District 9 – Beverly Broadway
District 10 – Russell E. Danzy:
District 11 – Emile Metoyer:

Owner of Bolton Realty Janice Bolton was the first to step up to the microphone.

“When clients come to town, the schools their children will go to is important to them,” she said. “I grew up here, I love this town, and I want to help.”

The overall consensus was that the new superintendent should be transparent, approachable, visible and hands on within the community and the schools, innovative and inspirational, committed to improving the school system, have the certification as well as the qualifications, inclusive, focused on increasing parental involvement, interested in collaborating with Northwestern State University, and be supportive and positive with the faculty and staff. He or she also needs to have a global view of education with 21st Century skills.

Chamber President Laura Lyles was unable to attend, but sent a representative to speak on her behalf. The A+ Coalition, an education initiative of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, formed a Community Advisory Committee to assist the School Board in its search. It has 25 volunteers from various areas of the community on it. They met for the first time on Nov. 15. The committee asked that the Board either delay its December meeting by a week, or delay advertising for the superintendent position until January. This will give the committee ample time to research and present the Board with information that will help them in their decision making process as they move forward with their search. The Board said it would take these requests under advisement.

14 thoughts on “School Board gets community’s input on superintendent search at public forum

  1. I disagree. A coach works with a coaching staff of adults and has to handle the staff correctly or the staff will split and wont be successful. Besides, if the coach has spent time in administration he/she will be working with adults and leading them. Just because you dont like the current superintendent you cant lump all coaches in the same breath.

    Athletics play a very pivotal role in the success of students and school and the person leading the schools should realize the importance of athletics. If they bring in someone who does not support athletics and support the coaches all the quality coaches will leave and the programs will suffer.

  2. There is the hook! “We will take it under advisement “! How many times has that been said?
    Take these under advisement:
    1. Certification for position by state board of education
    2 Must process a earned doctorate.
    3. At least 7 years as an administrator
    4. Document academic success as measured on state standardize test.
    5. Experience on all grade levels of education (Elementary, Junior High, Secondary)
    6. Knowledge of Special Education mandates
    7. Experience in dealing with local and state intenties.
    8. Pledge to address alternative plans for vocational education.
    9. Local hire rather than go outside for candidates.
    10. Pledge to develop a hiring policy, in writing, based on a point system to prevent nepotism and politics on choosing a candidate for administrative positions
    11. Maintained absolute transparency to the community.

    • Your number 9 is completely off the mark It’s time for Natchitoches to break the good ol’ boy mold. But I don’t hold our much hope for that.

      • Do I have to remind you that the last one hired was out of parish. I know of many administrative positions have been filled with out of parish candidates who were no better or even worst than the local candidates. With a merit system it will encourage qualified candidates to apply The problem with this good old boy system is political rather than based on qualifications! I can, but won’t, give you plenty examples. It is common knowledge that’s no need to apply because the outcome has been predetermined.

    • Good luck with #2. But maybe there are people out there with Ph. D.s who are willing to accept the salary coming from a rural parish.

      As far as #1 goes, certified as a what? Administrator? Teacher? IMO, every principal should have 10 years as a classroom teacher, and every superintendent should have double that as a school principal.

      • Number one has to do with certification as set by the state before you can apply. I agree that there’s no substitute for ” effective” classroom instruction!

        In my opinion, if you are hold the highest position in the parish educational field, you should hold the highest degree Only serious and highly qualified candidates will pursue the advanced degree. To be honest a masters degree is common and not given to the highest level of research.

  3. It would be helpful if the superintendent has classroom experiencer and not just a coach. A good background in literacy should be required. If you don’t have a research based reading program, then you will probably be spinning your wheels instead of progressing.

    • Not just a coach? The good old boy system is manly coaches. I’m not saying that physical educstion is not important because it is. However, coaches have dominated education for years. This is an institution of education first and foremost! How many certified coaches are at NCHS? I have personally watched as they had copies of the administrative test to study before hand. It has been rumored that there are principals here in this parish who had copies of the test and got caught but nothing was done to them.

    • I disagree with the “just a coach” statement. There are plenty of coaches out there (or have coaching experience) that would make excellent Superintendents. Those “coaches” spend more time with the kids, have a far greater impact on those kids and spend more time at the school then anyone else in the school (in some cases more then the kids own parents). They are the ones who instill discipline, character, values, and sometimes are responsible for getting a kid into college on an athletic scholarship when there is no other way.

      They work easily 12 hour days, 6-7 days a week and all for a small stipend because they love what they do and they love the kids. They understand teamwork, how to lead, they have been in the classroom, handled discipline, been far more involved with parents, understand and know how to handle being second guessed, etc.

      Im not saying every coach is a great option but don’t label every coach as “just a coach.” I know NCHS has a couple great coaches that will transition into great administrators one day if they so choose to.

      The next superintendent needs to have a sports background, put God first in the school, and be willing to hold everyone accountable and this includes parents.

      • “Spend more time with the KIDS, have a far greater impact on the KIDS…responsible for getting a KID into college…” And there’s the problem. The coaches have learned their management and leadership skills with KIDS, and never learned to manage or lead adults. Superintendents (and principals) who were coaches far too often treat their adult subordinates like KIDS. That was certainly true with the current and previous Natchitoches superintendents, and it wasn’t pretty.

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