City School Board considers superintendent contract re-up

Published 8:57 am Wednesday, February 25, 2015

With Bogalusa City Schools Superintendent Willie “Toni” Breaux’s contract set to expire on June 30, 2015, 16 school supervisors and administrators endorsed a two-year renewal of her contract at Monday’s night’s school board committee meeting.

The supervisors and administrators signed the petition at a Monday meeting at the school. School board members, however, discussed the contract in a closed-door executive session but emerged with no decision being made.

Breaux is in her third year in the position. She was appointed to superintendent only weeks before the beginning of the 2012-13 school year.

On her own behalf, Breaux gave an emotional talk about what the children in the district mean to her and improvement of overall district morale.

“Kudos to all the principals and supervisors working together. We are finally finding our way. The culture has changed in our schools. It’s not where it needs to be, but we’re getting there. I want Bogalusa to be on the map. We cannot give up on our kids. With or without me, I know Bogalusa will move forward, and I’ll bow out gracefully,” Breaux said as she received a standing ovation from the audience, made up mostly by district teachers and staff.

School Board member Adam Kemp told Breaux he liked her passion.

“We’ve never had a superintendent with a bigger heart,” Kemp said. “We, as a Board, see all the positive changes. I appreciate your efforts. You can’t look at test scores as everything, but you have to look at things like morale. You’ve got to look at the whole system.”

Board member Paul Kates said trust between the administration and teachers has been absent for a long time.

“My biggest concern is trust,” Kates said. “There has been no trust in the Bogalusa School District because there has always been bickering. Trust will take you a long way. Trust in your co-workers. I think Ms. Breaux is doing a wonderful job.”

Kates mentioned the supervisors’ and administrators’ signed endorsement.

“I hope you did it because you meant it and not because you were forced to do it,” Kates said. “I hope we all work together. We need to show improvement.”

The board meets again on Thursday. Her contract was not scheduled to be on the agenda as of Monday evening.

Breaux spoke about her strengths while the board was in executive session.

“The reason my supervisors and principals support me is because I’m a fair person and passionate about education and students,” Breaux said. “Meeting with them daily, they know me and they can feel my passion and know all my intentions are good. The goal here is to increase student achievement.”

In other business, Central Elementary School Principal Deanna Brown and Vice Principal Melissa Moses spoke on student improvement in reading.

“Students are really showing improvement in the Scholastic Reading Intervention Test. We gave it in September and again in January after they returned. Improvement has been shown, especially in writing,” Moses said.

Bogalusa High School Lead Principal Eric Greely and Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor April Nobles discussed preparing students for college by getting them ready to take the ACT.

“The ACT is the gatekeeper for many of our children going to college,” Greely said. “We had 65 percent of our juniors score a 17 on the ACT. The ACT is about stamina.”

Nobles spoke on last week’s ACT Boot Camp, a workshop to help prepare students for the test. The workshop included strategies, content and practice tests.

Also Monday, fourth-grade Central student Ranavia McCray gave a stirring presentation of her Black History Program rendition of “I am the Black Child.” She concluded the presentation to a standing ovation.

In personnel matters, Greely said new head football coach David Roberts officially began his duties at BHS on Monday. He will also teach health and physical education classes. He comes to BHS from Pearl River High School, where he was the offensive coordinator.

The board also accepted the retirement of Debbie Craig, who has been with the district for 40 years. She is currently special populations supervisor. Her retirement becomes effective June 30. Board members also accepted resignations of high school social studies teacher Barbara Brewster and diagnostician Naomi Rawls. Bus driver John Landry also resigned.