An attempt to formally request the resignation of the Lafourche Parish School Board’s president failed to gain momentum last Wednesday.
Two school board members, Al Archer and Clyde Duplantis, asked their peers to consider calling for board president Brooke Huddleston to step down, citing a lack of trust in her leadership abilities and professionalism.
“Staying on as president will hamper board unity, board respect, allow continued criticism from the community and embarrassment,” said Archer in his remarks. “Stepping down as president will allow the board and district to heal, regain public trust, move forward, increase morale and allow us a new beginning and fresh start.”
Huddleston’s first year in leadership saw a lengthy medical leave, the departure of the newly selected superintendent and the appointment of a temporary replacement.
Archer and Duplantis pointed to questions they’ve received about why the district is using money to pay for two superintendent salaries.
Several other board members stated that while Huddleston had made mistakes in her first term, she wasn’t the cause of superintendent Louis Voiron’s exit. They also argued that the request created more division on the board.
“Brooke will stay here,” said board member Cheryl Thomas. “She is not going to resign, and we will vote for her to stay right in her seat as president because she has done nothing wrong, and she has done everything to the best of her ability.”
Board member Dennis Guillot noted that while he didn’t vote Huddleston into the presidency, he voted against the proposed removal to respect those who did. He also suggested the board change its policy to select presidents every year rather than every two years.
Only board member Valerie Bourgeois joined Archer and Duplantis in voting for Huddleston to step down. Board members Tyler Dufrene, Randy Schouest, Barry Plaisance, Ray Bernard, Troy Dufrene, Thomas, Guillot and Huddleston voted against the proposal.
Board members Tina Babin, Mary Breaud and Marian Fertitta abstained.
In her comments, Babin said she hoped the discussion would be viewed as “constructive criticism.”
Lafourche Parish residents appeared in front of the board on both sides of the request, with some calling attention to the board’s failure to follow Robert’s Rules of Order during meetings and criticizing Huddleston’s professionalism.
Others supported Huddleston, stating she had been a champion for bus drivers and deserved the chance to overcome mistakes in her position.
During last Wednesday’s meeting, the board also introduced Henry Lafont Jr., who will serve as the interim board member for District 12 as early as the January meeting.
He will fill the seat vacated by former board member Robby Gisclair, who resigned while facing a criminal charge of theft.
“To the residents of District 12 and to all the residents of Lafourche Parish, I can assure you I will do the best job that I can,” said Lafont.
-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.
Posted on Tue, December 10, 2019
by By Halle Parker Daily Comet Staff Writer