The INDsider’s sources nailed it: As we predicted Wednesday afternoon ("Battle-tested principal drafted for struggling Boucher"), Keith Bartlett was recommended for the job as principal at Alice Boucher Elementary School, and the Lafayette Parish School Board unanimously approved the recommendation and hired him a few hours later. Bartlett comes to Lafayette from a post at John Dibert School in New Orleans’ Recovery School District, where as principal he helped skipper the school to significant improvement in test scores.

Based on his resumé, Bartlett took to the challenge of educating students traumatized by Hurricane Katrina. After a 17-year stint teaching at various Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lafayette, Bartlett moved to New Orleans in 2000 and taught for five years at New Orleans Alternative High School, part of the public school system. When Katrina ravaged the Crescent City in late August 2005, Bartlett followed the New Orleans diaspora to Lafayette, where he coordinated the instruction and tutorial programs for displaced students in the Cajundome under the auspices of the Lafayette public school system. That led to his most recent post as principal at Dibert.

Bartlett’s hiring comes as a result of a school board plan to reconstitute the administration and faculty at the struggling Alice Boucher. All educators at the school were informed recently that every teaching and administrative position at Boucher was up for grabs. The plan also includes bonus/merit pay for teachers and administrators selected to work at Boucher. Several current teachers at the school reapplied for positions, but neither the principal nor the assistant principal re-upped. Bartlett was among six candidates interviewed by a central office committee for the Boucher job; the other five are currently employed by the Lafayette Parish School System.

Bartlett’s previous experience as a school administrator includes a 22-year run as principal at three Catholic schools in southwest Louisiana: Our Lady of Fatima School in Lafayette (1978-1990), Our Lady Queen of Heaven School in Lake Charles (1990-1993), St. Bernard School in Breaux Bridge (1993-1998), and Academy of the Sacred Heart in Grand Coteau (1998-2000).

Independent Weekly readers recall his tenure at Fatima, and evidently approve: “Keith Bartlett did a really good job at Fatima years ago,” recalls one reader in a comment posted at theind.com. Another chimes in, “phenomenal person.”

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