Board to enter contract negotiations as next step in process.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) appointed Dr. Cade Brumley to be the new State Superintendent of Education. The Board voted 8-3 to appoint Dr. Brumley from three candidates nominated during deliberations at today’s meeting. BESE appoints the position by a two-thirds vote of its total membership.
“As a Louisiana native, I am extremely honored to be selected by a student-friendly BESE,” said Dr. Brumley. “Louisiana may not be the largest state in the union but we have a big table for collaboration. I look forward to bringing people together to collectively move our state forward. We are primed for continued improvement, drawing on successes of the past and the promise for our future. I will fight for our children, families, and communities each day - they deserve our best.”
Brumley is the current Superintendent of the Jefferson Parish School System, the largest in the state with over 51,000 students. Previously he served as the Superintendent of DeSoto Parish School System. Over the past two decades he has worked at all levels in education, including teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent. His appointment is a key milestone in a thorough search and selection process initiated by BESE at the beginning of the year.
“I want to commend Superintendent Selection Work Group Chair Kira Orange Jones for her leadership, work group members, and BESE members for their hard and good work,” said Sandy Holloway, BESE president. “We have run a transparent and efficient process in which we have, ultimately, selected a new leader who we believe can take us further down the path of reform and positive outcomes for students. These have been - and will continue to be - the priorities of BESE. We look forward to working closely with Dr. Brumley to keep our state moving in the right direction and continuing our partnership with all stakeholders to achieve greater wins for students.”
The Superintendent Selection Work Group developed and directed the administrative process for selecting a superintendent, approved by the Board at its January 2020 meeting. Serving with Orange Jones on the Superintendent Selection Work Group were BESE members Jim Garvey, Ronnie Morris, and Doris Voitier. BESE retained the consulting firm Promise54 to assist the work group in managing the process.
In March, the Board approved narrowing the search to six contenders from the 21 original candidates produced through the application process. Videoconference interviews, conducted by work group members with the contending candidates, were posted online for public review in April, along with a related public input survey that generated 7,800 responses statewide.
Holloway noted the importance of conducting an open and efficient process that afforded the opportunity for public engagement despite ongoing COVID-19 restrictions:
“There were obstacles to overcome in carrying out an expedient and transparent superintendent search in the midst of a public health emergency that could have severely impacted communication, logistics, and engagement. Despite these challenges, candidates, BESE members and the public cooperated and connected to move the process forward with a goal of ensuring continuity and stability for our students and educators.”
The new State Superintendent will take charge of a K-12 education system that has achieved many recent successes and improvements including raising academic standards, increasing access to quality early childhood education, expanding career education opportunities, and strengthening educator development, but will also face significant challenges. Closing persistent achievement and opportunity gaps across the state is a top priority for BESE, along with addressing the unfinished learning from the 2019-20 school year and ensuring that students and school systems are positioned for a strong start in 2020-21.
Other candidates nominated by the Board at the meeting were Jessica Baghian, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Policy Officer with the Louisiana Department of Education, and Dr. Lonnie Luce, Executive Director of Blended and Online School Solutions and Superintendent of Charter Schools USA, Louisiana.
BESE’s next step will be to negotiate and finalize a contract with Dr. Brumley. The Board will then request approval of the contract by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and request confirmation of the appointment by the Louisiana Senate.