The next superintendent of Lafayette Parish schools could be Don Aguillard, Carlos Sam or Francis Touchet Jr.
The School Board selected the three men as their top choices to interview for the job, from a pool of 12 candidates. The trio will interview during a special board meeting at 5:30 p.m. April 22. The interviews will be open to the public.
Aguillard, superintendent of St. Mary Parish Schools, began his teaching career in Lafayette Parish, where he was an administrator before being named superintendent in nearby St. Mary Parish 11 years ago.
Sam previously served as interim superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish schools and is now associate superintendent of schools in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Touchet, former principal of Erath High, is now a network team leader for the Louisiana Department of Education and acts as a liaison between the department and local school systems.
Board members wrote their top three choices on index cards and board President Tommy Angelle read each board member’s choices aloud.
Aguillard received support from the eight board members who were present. Board member Erick Knezek was absent.
Sam and Touchet both received six votes. Sam received support from Dawn Morris, Elroy Broussard, Jeremy Hidalgo, Angelle, Justin Centanni and Tehmi Chassion. Touchet received support from Chassion, Morrison, Hidalgo, Angelle, Centanni and Britt Latiolais.
Latiolais and Morris also voted for Sheila Guidry, an executive management officer for the Louisiana Department of Education. Broussard also voted for Joanie Hudson, an educational consultant from Cleburne, Texas, and Morrison voted for Donna Alleman, director of academic services at Louisiana Schools of the Deaf and Visually Impaired.
Each of the three candidates chosen Thursday would bring varied educational experience to the school system.
Aguillard has 39 years of experience as an educator and worked as a principal and central office administrator in Lafayette Parish before leading the St. Mary Parish school system, a B-rated district. In 2011, Aguillard was selected as one of three finalists for the Lafayette Parish superintendent job but withdrew his name to continue his work in St. Mary Parish. He holds a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from LSU, as well as an education specialist degree in administration from the former University of Southwestern Louisiana.
Sam served as interim superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, which includes 78 schools, for six months in 2012. For the past three years, he’s been in the role of associate superintendent. He has more than 25 years’ experience, including 5½ years as a teacher. He holds a master’s degree plus 30 hours from LSU.
Touchet was principal of Erath High School until 2012, when he began working as a network team leader for the state. He lives in Abbeville and holds a master’s degree plus 30 hours from McNeese State University. While he was principal of Erath, the school was one of the state’s top-performing high schools.
The board plans to make its decision sometime in May to allow time for the newly hired superintendent to spend time with interim Superintendent Burnell LeJeune prior to his retirement this summer.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.