LSMSA Executive Director Honored by LaCEC

Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) was honored on Sunday, Jan. 12, with the Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children (LaCEC) Leadership Professional of the Year Award.

Each year, the LaCEC recognizes an educational administrator who supervises or directs services to students with exceptionalities. The recipient’s professional career should reflect significant educational success for students, continue professional development and demonstrate the highest standards of educational quality.

“Dr. Horton came to LSMSA with a set vision for the School, which complemented the high goals and standards established by administrators before him,” said Sharon Gahagan, chair of the school’s Board of Directors. “The Board never dreamed that so much advancement could be accomplished so quickly. Over the past four years, he has been an exceptional role model for our faculty, staff, and students, and the Board of Directors for LSMSA commends Dr. Horton for this significant recognition. He is certainly deserving of the honor.”

Horton is in his fourth year as executive director, and his 33rd year in education, spanning both the K-12 and higher education settings. Prior to joining LSMSA, he completed a 28-year career at Northwestern State University, serving as a professor, department head, dean and chief academic officer. He continues to teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses in communication and teacher education at the university.

In his time as executive director at LSMSA, the school has reached maximum capacity with waitlists being opened for the past two years; the three most recent graduating classes have surpassed school records in highest ACT scores, articulated college credit, college acceptance rates, and merit based scholarship awards; and construction is underway for a 110,000 square foot residential facility to house the school’s 360 students.

Horton was nominated for the award by Maggi Bienvenu, a special educator and member of the LSMSA Class of 1995.

“Many people don’t realize that a significant portion of academically gifted students also are affected by special learning conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, or autism, or that many have social-emotional challenges that can affect their learning,” said Bienvenu. “It is evident that his special education background has made Dr. Horton especially attuned to these needs.”

Under Horton’s leadership, LSMSA, the state’s preeminent residential high school for Louisiana’s gifted sophomores, juniors and seniors, continues to offer a nurturing environment for the state’s most high-achieving students.

Learn more about the school and its educational model of excellence at

Pictured from left are Ashlie Abercrombie Allardyce, President Louisiana CEC; Dr. Steve Horton, Executive Director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts; Bambi Polotzola, Executive Director of Governor’s Office of Disability Affairs; and Dr. Gerlinde Beckers, LaCEC Awards Chair.