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Lafourche schools chief to retire in 2019

Lafourche schools chief to retire in 2019

The Lafourche Parish School Board is beginning the process of replacing Superintendent Jo Ann Matthews, who says she plans retires in March 2019.

The board must decide if it wants to hire the next superintendent or let the next board decide the matter. The current board’s term ends Dec. 31, 2018.

“You could do nothing, literally,” said Patrick Amedee, the School Board’s attorney. “You could decide, ‘We as a board don’t need to make that decision because we will let the next board decide.’”

If the current board decides to hire the next superintendent, it could sign him or her for a maximum of two years past the end of the board’s term.

Hiring the next superintendent before their terms end would potentially lead to the district having two superintendents under contract for two to three months until Matthews’s contract expires. One possibility is to have Matthews serve as an adviser to the next superintendent during that time.

The board decided at its most recent meeting in mid-June to start looking into qualities the members would want in the next superintendent and to start thinking about the pay range for the job if it does hire the next schools chief. The board plans to form a committee of members who have time and want to participate in the planning process.

The board doesn’t have to vote on whether it will hire the next superintendent, and it could decide at any time to wait and let the next board decide, Amedee said.

If the next board has to do the hiring, the new members would have less than three months to find a superintendent. In that case, they could hire an interim superintendent until they find a permanent one.

During the process, some board members said, an outside person should be hired to guide them.

“I think that during the process we need an outside person to help us along the way, like if we want to do interviews with community members or students,” Board Member Marian Fertitta said.

Opponents of the idea to hire an outside person said the board members are qualified to do any job an outside person could, and it wouldn’t cost any extra money. Proponents said hiring an outside person would be relatively cheap.

Although many decisions will have to be made in the future, starting the process early is important to ensure the board hires the right person, Amedee said.

“This is a moving target,” Amedee said. “This is starting the process of brainstorming.”


-- Staff Writer Garrett Ohlmeyer can be reached at 850-1149 or Follow him on Twitter @GOhlmeyer.