Breaux named superintendent of Bogalusa City Schools

Published 7:26 pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

Toni Breaux told the Bogalusa City School Board she wants to be superintendent. And she told them why.

“I don’t want this job for glorification, I don’t want this job for power, I don’t want it for money or to put my family and friends in positions,” she said, specifying she only wants to “benefit each boy and girl in this system and to make Bogalusa City Schools continue to grow.

“I only ask for a chance,” Breaux told School Board members during her formal interview Wednesday. “I promise you all I will do everything humanly possible to make this system a success. Why? Because I, too, am an at-risk child.”

Thursday, she got her wish. The Bogalusa City School Board voted unanimously to give Breaux the superintendent’s job. Only Brad Williams was absent.

Breaux, who had been acting superintendent since July 31, was the lone applicant for the superintendent’s job.

Breaux said she asked that Wednesday’s interview take place in an open meeting rather than behind closed doors in executive session because she not only represents the Bogalusa City School system, but also the city of Bogalusa.

“I want the public to be knowledgeable,” she said. “I have nothing to hide. I want to share everything I have with you, and if you have an idea, I welcome it.”

Breaux presented her Bogalusa City Schools 2013-2014 District Im provement Plan, which stresses and addresses pathways to positive outcomes for all students, as well as continuous employee and program assessment and accountability.

The detailed plan covers specifics on programming, tools and timelines and emphasizes collaboration and teamwork, including with parents, and positivity. It even addresses finances.

Breaux finished her presentation by reading her application letter of introduction aloud.

In it she spoke of a hard life, from her child  hood in Poplas Quar t  ers through ad ult hood; of her lifelong desire to be a teacher; of roadblocks and her det ermination to overcome; and her “ultimate goal to teach and touch the lives of the child ren of Bogalusa,” with whom she can relate.

A tearful Breaux said even after she’d earned her degree, it took her years to land a job in her hometown because of the reputation of her mother, Civil Rights activist Gayle Jenkins.

But she never gave up, she said, because of her love for the at-risk children of Bogalusa.

“I have traveled the same roads many of our children are traveling today,” Breaux said.

When she was done, many board members said she’d answered their questions with her presentation, and a number congratulated her and praised both the changes she has already made in the system and her plan for the future.

Board member Calvin Hymel said he’d worked at Bogalusa High School for 34 years and struggled with the ad min istration, but that he believes students are now “starting to get what they deserve.”

“The kids have not been treated fairly,” he said. “We had people who were here for themselves. We’re go ing in the right direction now. This school system is going to move forward. I just thank God I’m able to be part of it.”

Board member Adam Kemp praised Breaux’s professionalism.

“Some said it would take a miracle to save this system,” he said. “I truly believe you’re that miracle. You have impressed me from day one.”

In response to questions from Curtis Creel, Breaux said she does “not believe in” Act 1 of the education reform package signed into law last year by Gov. Bobby Jindal, which includes giving superintendents full authority to act on personnel matters based on performance.

“I don’t need that kind of power,” she said. “I want to do the right thing, what’s best for this system.”

In March, the act was ruled unconstitutional.

There were no questions from the audience.

See The Sunday News for more from Thursday night’s School Board meeting.