Search for new superintendent of education put on hold

Posted 10:44 a.m. Saturday, September 24, 2022

A motion to begin the process of filling the soon-to-be-vacant seat of Beauregard Parish School Board Superintendent failed Tuesday afternoon after a 4-4 split vote by board members.

Council members David Vidrine, Cassie Henry, Wesley Taylor and Casey Jones voted in favor of the motion that would have started advertising the vacancy on October 3, but council members Martha Jackson, Nikki Weldon, Ray Bowman and Garrett Greene voted against.

Board members Darrin Manuel and Kathy Bruner were absent from the meeting.

A lengthy discussion led to the split vote that included comments from candidates in the November school board election who objected to the current board choosing a superintendent who would then have to work with a new board.

Of the 10 seats on the panel, five are being vacated by current board members who are not seeking re-election.

District 3E candidate David Shirley told the council he thought it would be ‘foolish’ to fill the position under such circumstances and hinted that anyone chosen by the current council could face near immediate termination. .

“I really strongly encourage you not to try to fill the position before a new board arrives so that the new board can have the opportunity to find someone who matches their vision. If you hire someone who doesn’t fit the vision of the new board, there will be conflict from day one,” Shirley said.

District 3D candidate Bryan Redler supported Shirley’s statements.

“We want the new board to have a say in who they will be primarily responsible for and who will lead the future of the board,” Redler said.

Based on the timelines for posting the position, council members would likely have filled the position in December had the motion passed.

Tuesday’s special meeting was called after an unexpected announcement from Superintendent Timothy Cooley during the council’s Sept. 8 session. While Vidrine asked for a motion to adjourn, Cooley requested a moment to address board members and announced that he would be retiring at the end of the year.

Cooley’s contract expires Dec. 31 and he had said he would stay until Jan. 16 to help the new superintendent with his transition.

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