School Board sets interview schedule

Meet and greet planned Monday in Opelousas
By Harlan Kirgan Editor

The three candidates left in the running for the St. Landry Parish school superintendent job will have an hour and 20 minutes to make their points.
The board’s executive committee decided that the candidates will have 15 minutes each for presentation and then five minutes for a question and answer session with each board member.
The final three candidates are Dr. James Gray, Patrick Jenkins and Francis Touchet Jr.
They were selected from a field of five applicants at a special meeting on Sept. 22.
The School Board scheduled the second round of interviews at 4 p.m. Wednesday. at the the district’s Resource Center, 1013 East Creswell Lane, Opelousas.
The executive committee is leaving the details of checking out the candidates’ backgrounds to its attorney and personnel director, Matt Scruggins.
The committee, which met Monday in Opelousas, plans to ask the candidates to explain their strategy to improve the school system.
School Board member Anthony Standberry, of Opelousas, who is not an executive committee member, complained he is hearing “they done cut the deals.”
Standberry said, “It is about time we do the right thing for 1,400 some reasons.”
St. Landry Chamber of Commerce and Vision St. Landry are partnering to present the St. Landry Parish School Board Superintendent Candidate Forum at 5 p.m. Monday at the Delta Grand Theatre, 120 South Market St.
Jenkins is the director of operations for the Zachary Community School District. Jenkins has a master of education degree in administration and supervision from Southern University.
Jenkins, an Opelousas native, retired as a major after 25 years in the National Guard, then went into education.
Gray is the director for school leadership in the Vermilion Parish School District, where he has been in that role since 2012. He served as Westgate High School principal for eight years and the principal at Anderson Middle School in New Iberia for three years.
Gray has a doctorate of education in educational leadership from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Gray, also an Opelousas native, noted his experience in turning around Westgate High School.
Touchet is a network leader in the Louisiana Department of Education. Touchet served as the principal of Erath High School in Vermilion Parish for five years prior to his job with the state.
He earned a master’s in education from McNeese State University.

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