In June, longtime school Principal Annette Samec was selected to serve as the Lafayette Parish School System’s chief academic officer — a position created as part of new Superintendent Donald Aguillard’s reorganization plan. Samec brings 33 years of experience to the job — 14 as a physical education and math teacher and 19 as an administrator. For the past two years, she was principal of Alice Boucher Elementary. She recently sat down with The Acadiana Advocate to discuss her new role with the school system.
Q. There was a position of assistant superintendent. What’s your role as chief academic officer?
A. I’m overseeing all of the academic areas from math, science, social studies to the foreign languages. It includes career and technical education, pupil progression, special education, student services, Title I and instructional technology. It also includes the new accreditation that we’re going through with SACS (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). I’m working extensively with the principals as well with their academic support.
Q. What are your priorities for the current academic year?
A. To do whatever I can to support the principals so that the students can be more successful and can have the best opportunities possible. I’m really adamant when I say that I want my role to be a support role rather than a directive role. I enjoyed working at the high school level, and I enjoyed working at the elementary level. I know what it’s like to work as a principal. I have a better understanding of what principals need for support.
Q. What are you looking for when you visit a school, a classroom?
A. Right now, I’m walking with principals and assistant principals asking: What do you need? How are things going? In the future, I’ll be going into the classrooms more to see that our strategies are being implemented, that the curriculum maps are being followed.
Q. What’s been challenging about your new job?
A. The biggest paradigm shift for me is not opening a school, not having the children. That’s the biggest shift for me. I miss that. I miss the ownership of a school. Right now, my challenge is understanding that I have ownership in the 42 schools. Having that ownership in so many schools without being closely linked to the student population has been the biggest challenge.
Marsha Sills covers education for The Acadiana Advocate. Follow her on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.