New Ascension Parish School Board member Louis Lambert says he’ll be in the audience at coming meetings of the board, learning as much as he can, before he’s sworn into office in January.
“I’m serious about the position. I want to get in early and see what’s going on,” said Lambert, the new board member for District 6B, in the northeastern part of the parish.
The seat became Lambert’s prior to the election after his only other opponent, Chad Bourgeois, withdrew from the race in the weeks before Election Day on Nov. 4.
The incumbent, Jamie Bourgeois, not related to Chad Bourgeois, had withdrawn from the race earlier.
Lambert, who said he’s always appreciated the teachers and mentors he had in public schools in the parish, said he supports the School Board’s recent purchase of 11 acres in the Dutchtown area for a future primary school to relieve overcrowding at other nearby schools.
“The schools are getting overcrowded. It’s time now. We can’t wait until the student-teacher ratios are out of whack,” Lambert said.
Lambert will be one of five new faces on the 11-member board next year — with one of those newcomers to be decided in a runoff race on Dec. 6.
Voters in District 1, on the west bank in the Donaldsonville area, will choose between candidates Robyn Penn Delaney, who received 34.05 percent of the votes in the Nov. 4 election, and Jevella Williamson, who received 20.56 percent of the votes, according to the Secretary of State’s Office following the election.
Delaney, a Democrat who’s retired from a business career, has said that she feels her background in management will be a plus as a board member, if she’s elected, and that she’d like to have meetings with students, parents and teachers to listen to their concerns.
Williamson, a retired principal, said that, if elected, she’d like to see a family literacy center created where children and their parents could learn skills to enhance reading and writing.
Julie Blouin, another new board member who won a close race in District 3, an area from Gonzales to the Mississippi River, against Nat Stephens — she received 52.35 percent of the votes to his 47.65 percent — said her special area of interest is special needs children.
She wants to be sure that families of special needs children “know of the resources that are available to them,” she said.
The remaining two new School Board members are Scott Duplechein, District 2, in the St. Amant area, and Shawn Sevario, District 5A, in the Prairieville area.
Both men came into their board seats without a contest when the incumbents —?Thomas “Moose” Pearce in District 2 and A.J. Nickens in District 5A — chose not to run, and there were no other candidates.
Duplechein, a former school demographics analyst with the school system who is now an insurance agent, said the Ascension Parish school system “is respected and is funded well.”
“To me, that’s the biggest thing, to keep the funding squared away,” Duplechein said.
Sevario, a supervisor in the parish’s mosquito control department, said the School Board has done a good job, and he wants to help continue its good work.
“Obviously, I’ll also be talking with constituents to see what they’re concerned about,” Sevario said.
Returning to the board as victors in challenges for their board seats are incumbents Kerry Diez, District 4A; John Murphy, District 4B; and Lorraine Wimberly, District 6A.
Incumbents who were unopposed in their districts and will be returning to the board are Troy Gautreau, District 7A; Pat Russo, District 7B; and Taft Kleinpeter, District 5B.