The schools superintendent application pool for Lafayette Parish has officially closed with 32 applicants vying to replace retiring Superintendent Burnell Lemoine.
Among the nearly three dozen applicants is Dr. Pat Cooper, the current CEO of an early education center in New Orleans and a very well-spoken reformer with a track record of results.
Cooper, who served as the keynote speaker in March at the United Way of Acadiana’s annual banquet and also met with The Independent’s editorial board the same day, brings to the table an inspiring story of school reform. A former teacher and state Department of Education supervisor, Cooper worked as a superintendent in West Feliciana Parish and McComb, Miss., and now oversees an early education center in New Orleans. He implements a coordinated school health program that focuses on poverty-stricken children from birth to 5 years old receiving solid developmental training — and health care resources — to ensure that underprivileged and often underperforming children are ready and able to learn when they begin public school. His model is backed by numbers that have shown complete turnarounds on high school graduation rates and teen pregnancy rates in the districts where the program has been in place.
Click here to view a video of Cooper speaking at a 2008 mental health policy forum.
Check back with The Ind for more updates on Cooper and other promising applicants.
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MAR 6 In this week's post, Jim Brown is remembering former Gov. Jimmie Davis, who was sworn in 70 years ago this week. Included in here is the governor's recipe for raccoon, which was his favorite dish, Brown says. He also tells us who "Sunshine" was - Jimmie's palomino. She's buried at the late governor's farm, Brown says.
MAR 6 Columnist James Gill applies his special combination of wit and sarcasm to our friend Don Briggs in this post. Gill read the oil and gas leader's deposition and almost felt sorry for him -- almost. The problem seems to be related to Mr. Brigg's "stupendous ignorance of his purported area of expertise," Gill writes. He also credits Briggs with doing more for the environmental cause in a couple hours than tree-huggers can accomplish in years.
MAR 6 If you're on the Facebook, you've seen this video of two NOLA police officers line dancing with some Mardi Gras revelers. But this one is even better: it's a NOLA police horse line dancing on Bourbon Street. Hey -- this is Louisiana. We all can get down, if the situation calls for it.
MAR 6 Here's some more new info on the continuing controversy at Louisiana College, this time posted on the Tennessean (so maybe this story is pretty interesting outside of Louisiana, too). The story, originally written by Town Talk reporters, tells us about a document with allegedly forged signatures which was sent to SACS, the organization which issues accreditation for southern universities and colleges. The plot thickens?
MAR 6 When one reads a story like this one on KATC about the person or persons unknown who stole a huge duck balloon, three questions come to mind. First, what kind of person steals a huge balloon used to advertise a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club? And second, how can that person drive off with a huge balloon -- and attract no attention at all? And of course, the biggie: what you gonna do with that?
MAR 6 If you're interested in how things might look in 20 or 30 years, here's a good indication. This post by a 19-year-old sophomore in the LSU Reveille is the first in a series about racism. Written by a white girl, it argues that we must discuss racism and acknowledge its existence. We can't pretend it doesn't exist anymore - because it does, she says.
MAR 6 LaPolitics is doing the math on the state's unclassified workforce, and it looks pretty good -- if you're part of it. The top 50 unclassified positions in state government are making a combined $17 million, LaPolitics reports. That's $3 million more than when Jindal took office. (It's also an average salary of $340,000 in case you're interested) What's really interesting is that a lot of these positions are related to college athletics. Huh.
MAR 6 What does Ash Wednesday in NOLA look like? Beaded trees. This Picayune story takes a look at one narrow aspect of the annual clean-up following Mardi Gras: the beads hanging from trees. It takes weeks for crews to remove the trash from the trees, the story tells us.
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