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The Concordia Parish School Board voted 5-4 not to extend Superintendent Whest Shirley’s contract during a special meeting Monday night.

The vote came after an executive session.

Shirley had requested a six-month extension through June 30, 2021.

Supporting the renewal of Shirley’s contact were Warren Enterkin, John Bostic, Ricky Raven and Lisette Forman.

Voting against were Dorothy Parker, Derrick Carson, Fred Butcher, Raymond Riley and Angela Hayes.

Board members did not discuss nor explain why Shirley’s contact was not extended.

“Four board members thought I was doing a good job, but five did not,” Shirley said Tuesday.

He said he would assist in making a smooth transition for the next superintendent. The board will advertise the position and then interview applicants.

Shirley, who has 30 years in education, said he is beginning his 26th year working in the parish school system.

“I want to see our school system continue to prosper,” he said, recalling that before Walmart located in Vidalia, he was a local principal and was interviewed by company representatives about the schools.

“They bombarded me with questions about our school system because that is something companies always look at,” he said.

Shirley, who is 53, said he will continue to work in some capacity and will always be supportive of the parish school system.

“I will do my best to see a smooth transition,” he said.

In a letter to the board, Shirley said the system has excelled in several academic areas:

· The ACT average has maintained steady at 18 for the past two years.

· Dual Enrollment opportunities have improved and with students finishing their associate degree while attending high school.

· Ferriday Upper Elementary was named a “Top Gains” school.

· Ferriday High School was named a “B” school.

· Concordia Parish Academy now houses Pre-K through 12th grade and had their first commencement ceremony this summer.

· Beginning this year all three high schools have three different career Jump Start pathways for students to follow in the areas of Business, Health Science and Manufacturing. Welding has been introduced in the Jump Start summer program for 30 area students.

· Last August, the parishwide College/Jumpstart Binder Project in English III and IV classes was initiated to help students (and parents/guardians) navigate the college/career decision-making process.

Facility improvements have included:

· Gym air conditioning projects are being completed at FUE, FHS, VUE, VJHS, and VHS.

· Monterey High School will begin construction on a new gym this fall.

· Continued maintenance rotation for gym floors throughout the parish.

· Completion of the new classroom and breezeway project for CPA.

Technology advancements have included:

· The purchase of 3,000 Chromebook devices at a 1:1 district ratio with students.

· The order of an additional 2,710 Chromebooks and 1500 internet connectivity devices from AT&T and Verizon.

· A partnership with Google to become a Google Classroom school district.

· A new technology plan for the district.

· An ITT (Instructional Technology Team) responsible for setting up and training staff with virtual classrooms.

· Through Title I funding, the purchase of access points that allows all students to connect to the internet and complete state testing at the same time.

· The completion of a 2-year E-Rate project that rewired all the schools in the district. Now all 11 schools have new high-speed wiring in every classroom.

Additionally, Shirley said the system has expanded services for students as the Concordia Education Center and will offer the NCCER Core Curriculum for students wishing to enter the workforce after Vocational Technical College.

He also noted that work continues to provide a safe learning environment at schools throughout the parish.

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