BCS Supt. Louise Smith resigns | Board appoints acting superintendent

Published 8:39 am Sunday, July 29, 2012

At a special meeting of the Bogalusa City School Board on Friday, Superintendent Louise Smith, who was not present, tendered her resignation as of July 27.

During the meeting, Toni Breaux was appointed acting superintendent, although there was some confusion among board members whether she was acting or interim superintendent, and a search for a permanent replacement is likely to begin soon.

Smith’s resignation was in the form of a letter to board President Paul Kates, which he read.

“Throughout my lifelong career as an educator I have sought to provide excellence to the children entrusted to my care. It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation as superintendent of the Bogalusa City School System as of this date, Friday, July 27, 2012. It is my sincere prayer that the coming school year find the children of the Bogalusa City School System ever climbing for the excellence that I dream for them.”

After Kates read Smiths’ letter, Breaux addressed the board.

 “First, I would like to thank God and I’d like to thank each board member and the community and the teachers and the custodians and the cooks, everybody, because we’re going to all be in this together,” she said. “And I feel like it’s an honor. I’m a Bogalusan, and I promise you, board, that I’m going to do my very best to bring this system back to the way it was. And as I told you, the first thing in my heart are the kids, because if it were not for the kids we wouldn’t have a job. And I think that they need to get everything they need in order to grow and prosper. Second on my list are the teachers, because the teachers are the ones who work directly with the kids and I think teachers have not gotten the praise that they really deserve and so we’re going to work hard … (drowned out by applause)

“My commitment, and I say it out because this is just the kind of person I am, is to the board first. They are my boss and I will not do anything, make any decisions, without first having some kind of communication with the board. I’ve always been like that, in whatever position I was (in), whoever was over me, I was always loyal, and I’m going to be the same exact way with you all. I’m anxious, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get started, bringing the system back.

“We have a lot to do. We have to bring up test scores, we’ve got to change the morale, teachers and everybody need motivating to know that they are appreciated. It’s not a one-man show. It involves everybody. I don’t believe in dictatorship. It involves all of us. And I want to work with everybody in here and everybody in the school system. I’m always open for suggestions and ideas and I promise you that I’m going to do my very best because I’m a Bogalusan and I love Bogalusa.”

Also added to the agenda were a motion to abolish the position of safety coordinator at Bogalusa Middle School, and a motion to allow Kates to sign the release of all claims and obligations regarding the previous superintendent. Both motions passed with unanimous support.

Comments from board members followed, including a comment by Deloris Walker, who sat in for the superintendent at the meeting. She said she wanted to assure everyone that everything’s in place for the beginning of school.

 “We’ll be ready,” she said.

Kemp thanked Breaux for accepting the position of acting superintendent, saying he looked forward to working with her. He agreed “we’re all here for the children.”

Kates ended the meeting with a statement:

“We want this community of Bogalusa to know that this board stands firm in wanting to move this school system forward. We know we have a sign out there that says children first, and children are first in our hearts. We want what’s best for the children, we want what’s best for the staff, we want what’s best for everyone in this community.

“We also need the help of the parents in the community, because learning does start at home. If you send your child to this system and teach them how to behave and come to school and apply (themselves) to learn, they will learn. We are a system here ready to give your children a quality education and I know, and I believe it in my heart, that everyone at this table wants every child in Bogalusa to get a quality education. And I know that our acting superintendent, that will be her number one concern.

“I believe that.”

Breaux has served as Director of Title 1 program, principal of Denhamtown and Byrd Avenue schools and guidance counselor at Bogalusa Middle School. She currently is an ARC teacher.

She attended the meeting, she said, as she usually does, “hoping for it (to be appointed acting superintendent),” but not at all sure if it would happen, having applied for the superintendent position at least four times in the past.

“I’m elated,” she said.

“I’m overwhelmed.”