BESE adopts administrative process for selection of new State Superintendent

Jan 29, 2020, 14:55 PM by BESE Admin

At its meetings this week the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) received the initial report of its Superintendent Selection Work Group and adopted the group’s recommended administrative process regarding the appointment of a new State Superintendent of Education.

Over the next several weeks, the work group plans to partner with a search firm to develop criteria to screen candidates and initiate an open application process. The work group will also directly contact potential candidates submitted by individual BESE members for screening and review initial applications. By early spring the work group anticipates selecting semi-finalists for interviews and recommending one to three finalists to the Board for consideration. BESE has granted the work group the authority to amend the process as necessary, subject to general Board notification.

"The process approved by the Board this week is thorough, efficient, and transparent," said Sandy Holloway, BESE president. "Appointing a Superintendent is one of BESE’s most critical duties per the Constitution, and while it is important to proceed with urgency, there will be careful consideration at every step of the process and with every potential candidate. Having a process in place puts BESE in the best position to make this appointment in an organized and timely manner."

A general, tentative timeline for completing the process was detailed by the work group. Candidate applications and names submitted by Board members will be received during February, with work beginning in March to review and screen candidates. The work group will conduct interviews and facilitate the interview process with individual BESE members in accordance with the state’s Open Meetings Law. Finalists could be considered by the Board as early as March or April 2020. The resignation of current Superintendent John White is effective March 11, 2020.

"Our goal is to build a highly competitive, diverse pool of candidates for this important leadership position. Louisiana’s children deserve nothing less than our best efforts here," said Kira Orange Jones, work group chair and BESE secretary-treasurer. "We believe this is the best way to ensure a Superintendent is appointed who will build on recent progress and keep our students and educators on an upward trajectory."

The Board issues a contract for the position of State Superintendent by a two-thirds vote of its total membership, requests confirmation by the Senate, and requests approval of the salary by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Basic qualifications for the position are defined in state law and BESE policy, and additional criteria may be established at the Board’s discretion.

Serving with Orange Jones on the Superintendent Selection Work Group are District 1 BESE member Jim Garvey, District 6 member Ronnie Morris, and At-Large member Doris Voitier. The group was appointed by Holloway following the Board’s special called meeting on January 16.

The report of the work group and outline of the appointment process approved by BESE is available online here.

Individuals wishing to submit their name for consideration by the work group may begin the process by emailing a resume to the BESE office at

# # #

For more information, contact:
Kevin Calbert

BESE is the administrative policymaking body for elementary and secondary schools in Louisiana. The Board sets key education initiatives and works to outline an education agenda to achieve continuous improvement of public education as measured by student and school achievement.