The Lafayette Parish school system will consider the superintendent of Southern University Laboratory School and a local principal recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as they look to fill a new administrative position to help struggling schools improve.
The school improvement administrator position was recently approved by the School Board, with the assignment of working with three or five of the school system’s worst-ranked elementary schools. Superintendent Donald Aguillard has said those schools will be identified after the state releases performance scores in early December.
The performance scores come with a letter grade attached, and Aguillard has said in recent weeks that the school district plans to identify its schools with scores that rate them below a C letter grade as “emerging” schools to neutralize the stigma attached to the lower letter grades.
Based on the last performance scores released in 2014, the eight elementary schools labeled as D and F schools are J.W. Faulk, Alice Boucher, Carencro Heights, Duson, S.J. Montgomery, Ossun, Westside Elementary and Evangeline.
The new administrator will work directly with the school principals, spending time in classrooms to make “strong recommendations to improve practice,” Aguillard said in an interview last week.
At least eight people applied for the job, but only Harrison and Trosclair met the qualifications for the positions, based on information from Aguillard and Assistant Human Resources Director Suzanne Thibodeaux.
As part of the job requirements, candidates must have five years of experience as a principal.
Harrison, who began teaching in 1994, taught in Texas and Louisiana school districts. He has six years’ experience as principal of elementary and secondary schools and noted on his résumé that student achievement and attendance improved at those schools.
In 2011, Harrison became director and superintendent of Southern University Lab School, which enrolls students in kindergarten through 12th grade as a program within Southern’s College of Education. As leader at Southern University Lab School, Harrison increased the school’s enrollment by 235 percent, according to enrollment figures as of last fall. He also started a virtual school for grades K-12 that enrolls students across the state.
Harrison holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Louisiana Tech University and a master’s in health and physical education from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Since 2012, Trosclair has been principal at South Crowley Elementary, which was recently named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education for its efforts to close the achievement gap by helping poor and struggling students catch up with their classmates. As part of that recognition, Trosclair received the U.S. Department of Education’s Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding Leadership for her role in transforming South Crowley Elementary.
Trosclair began her teaching career in 1984 and, prior to joining South Crowley, was principal at Eunice Elementary from 2002 to 2012. Eunice Elementary was recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School in 2010 for maintaining high performance scores for five consecutive years. Trosclair was also a high-performing, high-poverty school coach-mentor for the Louisiana Department of Education and worked with struggling high-poverty schools from 2008 to 2010. She holds a master’s of education in administration and supervision from LSU.
Aguillard said a decision on the new employee is expected by the end of Friday.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.