Iberville School Board member named president of LSBA

Staff Report

A longtime member of the Iberville Parish School Board now has a new title.

Melvin Lodge of St. Gabriel was named Board President of the Louisiana School Boards Association during its 84th annual convention recently in Baton Rouge.

Melvin Lodge

“I am both excited and thrilled about this new leadership role, and I don’t take the honor lightly,” Lodge said. “I’ve always been highly impressed that the LSBA has done remarkably well at championing for issues in a nonpartisan way. Ultimately children are our main goal, so it’s important to always remember that. Meeting in the middle is sometimes what needs to be done, and it’s something I’m committed to continuing to do as an effort to ensure our state’s children are always best served.”

Lodge was elected to the Iberville Parish School Board in late 2002 and began his dedicated years of service in 2003. A quick rise in the ranks saw Lodge taking an active interest in all internal committees, but the Executive Committee is where he felt he could best serve the students in his community.

“Being able to look critically at proposed laws that could either benefit or hinder our children has been incredibly important to me,” said Lodge. “We speak for these children, and paying attention to language that could alter things dramatically for them, and then to be their voices when those decisions are being made, has been deeply rewarding.”

Lodge has seen major improvements for teachers as well as students while with the Iberville School Board. He and his fellow board members helped pass a 31-mill special ad valorem tax that saw Iberville teachers’ salaries not only rise but increase dramatically and top most other regions of the state.

During his tenure, two STEM academies were also formed, with both now seeing students not only graduate at exceptionally high rates, but with hefty scholarships due to their hard work.

“It’s important to remember that our students are also children, and children excel at their own pace,” said Lodge. “I’m very proud of the cohesion there’s been with my fellow board members who also recognize that, and who feel that sometimes children need to come into their own to be successful. That’s allowed us to encourage students, rather than demand performance numbers immediately. It’s made a dramatic difference.”

“I’m greatly looking forward to working so closely with Mr. Lodge,” said Dr. Janet Pope, LSBA Executive Director. “He is a great leader, as he’s demonstrated time and again his ability to recognize and value the ‘whole child’ in terms of education. I’m excited to see what his leadership will bring, as I feel that his character, his commitment, and his competence, make him a wonderful fit to further move our school boards in a positive, forward direction.”