The 2010 Louisiana Teacher of the Year says she is seriously considering a run for the state Board of Elementary & Secondary Education. Holly Boffy, who most recently taught eighth grade social studies for the gifted program at Paul Breaux Middle School, says she’s reaching out to fellow educators and the business community as she weighs a possible run this fall. Now retired from the Lafayette Parish School System, Boffy recently signed on as the director of professional development and university programs with the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana.
Boffy, 33 and a 1996 alumna of Abbeville High School, earned a bachelor’s, master’s and education specialist certification degrees from LSU. She has also served as an adjunct instructor in the Education Department at UL. Boffy says it was her experience in the Teacher of the Year program that opened her eyes to the possibility of addressing Louisiana’s poor public school system through politics.
“When I became the teacher of the year and traveled with the national Teacher of the Year program, I realized how much education is influenced by politics, and those politics are very far removed from students,” she says. “So, I either have to do something about it or not be frustrated by it.”
The married mother of a 4-year-old son says she’s been encouraged by colleagues to seek the BESE seat. “I’ve gotten support from teachers who know what my experience is; they know I have a strong background in teaching with my advanced degrees. So, I’m being strongly encouraged by teachers, but also by parents of students I’ve taught,” says Boffy, a Republican. “There’s an interest in improving public education for the students in our state even among people who don’t have their children in the public school system — they want a better system for everybody. I’m finding people who are passionate about education, who share my passion for education, and who hopefully be able to support being in a position where I can have an impact.”
Federally mandated redistricting of BESE’s districts — there are eight BESE districts in Louisiana; the governor also appoints three at-large members — is under way in the Legislature. Boffy would likely run against the current District 7 incumbent, Dale Bayard of Sulphur, assuming he seeks reelection. (Bayard could not be reached Thursday for confirmation that he will run again.)
The former top teacher for Louisiana says she realizes what a monumental undertaking running for public office, especially for an office that covers multiple parishes. But, she says, Louisiana must do a better job with its public education system.
“I’ve seen kids who are successful in our system, but at the same time I’ve seen kids who our system is not serving,” Boffy adds. “When you have a child who gets to middle school and can’t read, we have a problem.”
MAY 23 Here's a story in the Picayune about some statistics that must come as a blow to folks who believe that any private school can do a better job of educating kids than any public school: Danielle Dreilinger reports that only 30 percent of the voucher kids are passing. That's less than half of the state wide average, she says. It's an interesting statistic because most of the schools (if not all) taking voucher kids have never had their students' standardized test scores released to the public before.
MAY 23 Stephen Sabludowsky blogs on Bayou Buzz about auditor requests here. Recently the state GOP started crowing about a request from the Legislative Auditor, claiming they were being targeted because of their anti-tax stance. (Uh, your what?) Denial and hyperbole aside, the state Democratic party blew holes in that theory with an email announcing they'd received the same request, Sabludowsky writes here.
MAY 23 Jim Brown blogs about the senate race in this post. He says that, given Bobby Jindal's "lack of traction" on the national stage, it might make more sense for the governor to consider running against Mary Landrieu for the senate seat. Since Tim Teeple left the Cassidy team, it makes sense he might land on a Jindal for Senate team, Brown opines.
MAY 23 In this Louisiana Voice post, blogger Tom Aswell writes of rumors that his nemesis, state Superintendent of Education John White, may be soon departing Louisiana for a federal post. It's hard to believe, given his performance, Aswell says, but stranger things have happened. An anti-White BESE member says that, if true, White is quitting before he can be fired.
MAY 23 In this post on American Zombie, blogger Jason Berry writes about the Mother's Day shooting. Mayor Landrieu said that "this is not who we are," but the fact is, this is New Orleans, Berry writes. The violence infused in the city is the result of a culture created by "sins of omission or sins of commission," Berry writes. It's not a problem that can be solved by legislating, policing, praying or publicizing, he says: Someone's got to understand what's happening first.
MAY 23 This post in the Westside Journal tells us what Port Allen Mayor Deedy has been up to lately: vetoing ordinances, apparently. This story is most interesting, however, when it delves into a petition that has been circulating around the city lately. It accuses the former mayor of a lot of nasty things; the former mayor says it is full of lies and "broken syntax" which may be a larger offense in his eyes.
MAY 23 This editorial posted in The Advocate is a bit confusing. The writing is poor - definitely not up to the usual editorial writing standard there - and the point is hard to grasp. Apparently, the writer is saying that privatization of state efforts is OK, as long as there is oversight and transparency, but Jindal's not good at that, and the legislature shouldn't over-react. Okey Dokey. Can't they get one of them Pulitzer-winning people to write an editorial?
MAY 23 This post on The Lens gives you links to a new Google Earth tool that allows you to see any spot on earth transform over the past 30 years. Bob Marshall, who covers the coast for the paper, says that in the case of Louisiana's coastline, it's possibly something you don't want to see, because it's not a pretty picture. There are several clips here, showing critical areas erode away. For Marshall, it was vindication for all those times he was met with eye-rolling when he talked about erosion.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.