McKinley to take top post at BHS | 3 job vacancies posted on Friday

Published 9:23 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bogalusa High School will have a familiar face as its new leader.

BHS Assistant Principal Lesley McKinley has been selected by Bogalusa City Schools Superintendent Louise Smith to replace Bryan Stewart, who submitted his resignation in June.

Board member Calvin Hymel said the board was made aware of the move via a letter they received from Smith last week.

“We were surprised,” said Hymel.

Smith did not return several phone calls or an email from The Daily News.

As part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s educational reform legislation, and his belief that school boards need to be constrained while superintendents and principals should be empowered, all personnel decisions, as of July 1, are in the hands of school administrators — superintendents and principals. The law, sponsored by Rep. Steve Carter of Baton Rouge, currently prohibits school board members from influencing principals and superintendents, or as Carter put it, “constantly looking over their shoulder,” as they make decisions involving personnel matters. In addition, the legislation requires a 2/3 vote of school board members to terminate the superintendent in the middle of a contract.

It became apparent McKinley was going to take Stewart’s place when, on Friday, an employment vacancy notice was posted on the board’s website for the position of assistant high school principal.

On the same date, two other vacancies were announced: one for a supervisor of child welfare and attendance, and another for a supervisor of human resources and community relations.

All three of the vacancy notices posted on Friday are accepting applications only through today at 4 p.m.

Board members and Smith discussed the openings this past week at the regular meeting on Wednesday, with board members believing a supervisor was not necessary, but that a coordinator would be able to handle the job at a lower salary.

The posting for a human resources supervisor was surprising since the board had previously voted to not fill the position after Joanna Dillman resigned last fall.

The board was not aware that the job was going to be posted, according to Hymel.

“The superintendent can now do whatever she wants to do,” he said. “She did not follow procedure and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

When asked about the postings and the short window to submit applications, Hymel said he and other board members were surprised about that too.

Hymel, who has disagreed with Smith on a number of issues and as recently as last week regarding the modular buildings, could only say, “It’s just a mess right now.”

“All I can say is that things are in the works.”

The next school board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the school board office on Sullivan Drive.