3 seek St. Martin school superintendent job

State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Lottie Beebe is among three educators seeking the superintendent of St. Martin Parish Schools job.

Applicants also include Stephensville Elementary School Principal Daniel Rawls, a former Pointe Coupee Parish superintendent; and Charles Michel, Lafourche Parish supervisor of special education.

Since 2010, Rawls has worked as principal of Stephensville Elementary School in St. Martin Parish.

Rawls said his history of taking over troubled systems and moving them in the right direction would serve St. Martin Parish well, even though it is a sound system that is balanced both fiscally and educationally.

He had applied for the top position in St. Landry Parish, but has since received an email that the board is “backing away from the table” and re-evaluating its position after two of its board members were investigated for an attempted pay-for-votes extortion scheme involving another candidate for the superintendent position.

Rawls said he did not believe St. Martin Superintendent Richard Lavergne’s position would be offered so early and is happy to be able to offer himself as a “very successful, highly educated and trained candidate to fill the void at the top” that will be left when not only Lavergne, but also the second in command, Director of Operations Ron LeBlanc, also retires this year.

Michel said he believes his background in special education will help the “solid” St. Martin Parish school system to excel in state rankings by focusing on targeted populations. St. Martin Parish earned a C in the 2012 rankings recently released.

Michel said he has experience as a principal of both a middle and high school in Texas and currently oversees two budgets totaling roughly $5.5 million.

These two positions, he said, give him “a broad view of the big picture needed to envision student and district success as a whole.”

Beebe, District 3 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education representative, has served at all levels of the education hierarchy with the exception of superintendent. Of her 28 years in the education arena, she has served the St. Martin Parish School System for 22 years. Beebe also served as a St. Landry Parish School Board member from 1991 to 1998.

She currently works as the director of human resources for St. Martin Parish.

“I have not served as superintendent within the education hierarchy. However, I have worked under the supervision of several superintendents who have in some way prepared me for this role. … I recognize the role of superintendent today comes with major responsibilities and challenges such as the competition offered by Choice providers. I also know the challenges resulting from Acts 1 and 2 of the 2012 Louisiana Legislature. However, I am one who embraces challenges,” Beebe said via email.

Beebe said prior to applying for the superintendent position, she sought a legal opinion and was told there was no conflict of interest in continuing to be a BESE member. Additionally, Walter Lee, superintendent of Desoto Parish, currently serves on BESE.

As to her qualifications, “I understand the role and responsibilities and challenges of school boards firsthand. My experiences as a former local and current state board member have provided me the insight needed to work amiably with my school board members.

“As a board member, I have served on numerous education committees and have hosted many education forums. As a teacher and former principal and personnel director, I know the challenges within the classroom and schoolhouse.”

James Blanchard, St. Martin Parish School Board president, said the board could make its choice by January if it moves up its interviews to before the Christmas break.

Blanchard said the board had considered conducting interviews in January, but moving up the timeline would allow more time for the new hire to train with Lavergne, who retires June 30.

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