At a special called meeting in Baton Rouge last week, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) considered upcoming steps in selecting the next State Superintendent of Education.

The Board unanimously approved the establishment of a work group made up of four BESE members, selected by the BESE President, to be tasked with developing a selection process and making recommendations to the full Board regarding a candidate search, qualifications, timeframe, and related items.

BESE President Sandy Holloway appointed members Jim Garvey, Kira Orange Jones, Ronnie Morris, and Doris Voitier as the members of the Superintendent Selection Work Group, with Orange Jones to serve as chair.

The group will act as the nominating and screening committee regarding candidate qualifications and will develop the process for selecting a new State Superintendent. The process will be presented to the full Board for consideration at the January 28-29 BESE meetings in Baton Rouge.

“The selection of a new State Superintendent is the first and most important order of business for our new Board,” said Holloway. “Our objective is to appoint a proven leader who will build on the progress Louisiana has made over the past eight years, and we aim to accomplish this through a process that is expedient, but also very thorough and transparent. Continuity for our students and educators is key, and the Board will work toward a goal of having a selection made by the time Superintendent White departs in March.”

The Board appoints the position of State Superintendent by a two-thirds vote of its total membership. Basic qualifications for the position are defined in state law and BESE policy, and the Board may establish additional qualifications.

Members of the 2020-2023 BESE Board were sworn in at yesterday’s special meeting. The new Board also formally received the resignation of current Superintendent John White and discussed issues pertaining to his transition from the position in executive session. Superintendent White’s resignation will be effective March 11.

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