BESE approves new superintendent

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 7:31pm

BATON ROUGE, La (FOX44) — There's a new man in charge of statewide education tonight. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved John White as the new state superintendent at a special board meeting Wednesday.

Most of the BESE members were in favor of putting White in charge. He was strongly supported by Governor Bobby Jindal. However, not everyone is happy about that decision.

"Congratulations John," Joyce Haynes with the Louisiana Association of Educators said earlier today. "You already have the votes for it's Louisiana poli-tricks, not Louisiana politics."

Haynes was among a number of people to call John White's approval a poltical move. She was joined in her criticism by Lee Meyer.

"We have the best board money can buy now," he says.

They say the new top dog doesn't have what it takes to lead the state's education system.

"Mr. White's experience is extremely limited and his leadership as Deputy Superintendent in New York is questionable at best," says concerned parent Karen Harper Royal.

However, BESE members say there's no one better for the job.

"We couldn't have built a better resume for state superintendent that was stronger than the one he presented today," BESE President Penny Dastugue says.

The state has been without an official superintendent since Paul Pastorek resigned back in May. The board says they didn't have the time or money to do a national or statewide search.

"If we had more time, a selection would be ideal, but we have to look at constraints in front of us and recognize that we have a leader who absolutely has the criteria and capability," says BESE member Kira Orange Jones.

White began his career teaching English. He worked as deputy superintendent in New York City before becoming the superintendent of Louisiana's Recovery School District. He will begin his new job immediately.
 

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