Lafayette Parish School Board President Mark Babineaux and board Vice President Shelton Cobb will join two other school board members in visiting Mississippi, St. Mary Parish and New Orleans Nov. 28 through Dec. 2 to scope out the communities of the three superintendent candidates vying to take over the district’s top position when Superintendent Burnell Lemoine retires later this year. 

The Daily Advertiser reports that the tentative date of Dec. 7 to select a new superintendent will be delayed by a week, when the board will hold a special meeting Dec. 14 to make its final decision.

The final three superintendent candidates are Walter Gonsoulin, Pat Cooper and Donald Aguillard:

The preliminary plan is for board President Mark Babineaux and Vice President Shelton Cobb along with two members of the board to conduct the community visits starting with two days in Mississippi, where they will research Gonsoulin in Starkville on Nov. 28 and on Cooper in McComb on Nov. 29 before returning back to Louisiana in time for expulsion hearings Nov. 30. Cooper served as the superintendent of schools in McComb from 1997 to 2007.

They'd like to speak with current or previous school board presidents, head of teachers organization, head of local Chamber of Commerce, head of the Economic Development Authority and anyone who is recommended to them.

Members of the board will then return to the road Dec. 1 with a visit scheduled for Aguillard in St. Mary Parish before wrapping visits up Dec. 2 in New Orleans for Cooper.

LPSS Marketing Director Angie Simoneaux says no more than four board members will be able to visit the candidates’ communities because having more than four would violate open meetings laws. It has not been decided which other board members will be accompanying Babineaux and Cobb, though Tommy Angelle did tell the daily that he’s “going to try to make the trip to St. Mary Parish and New Orleans.”

If Angelle does find time to visit both, the two visits would equal more than the number of interviews Angelle attended when the board conducted interviews with the top 10 superintendent candidates earlier this month. 

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