Ascension Parish School Board members and Superintendent Patrice Pujol on Monday praised longtime educator Jerry Elie on his many years of service as he retires as the principal of the district’s alternative school in Darrow.

Elie worked in the school district as a teacher, coach and assistant high school principal before serving for 15 years as principal of APPLe (Ascension Parish Program for Learning and eInstruction) Digital Academy, which offers a complete online education experience.

Pujol commended Elie for his “complete empathy for young people.”

“He has a unique perspective and talent of getting our young people to strive for better and better things,” she said.

“I truly believe all kids can learn. They just learn at a different pace and a different time,” Elie told the board.

Board members Troy Gautreau and John Murphy, who in their own high school days knew Elie as a coach, thanked him for being a mentor and leader in their own lives.

Lynn Hathaway, who was previously assistant principal at the APPLe Digital Academy, has been named the school’s new principal.

This summer, the school district will be purchasing and putting into place approximately 4,000 touch-screen laptops so that by the start of next school year, each student in the district, from fifth grade to 12th grade, will have his or her own individual computing device, Jake Ragusa, director of information services and technology, said in a meeting of the board’s technology committee.

Fourth-grade teachers will have available for their students several laptops that can be used in the classroom, Ragusa said.

Jennifer Tuttleton, director of school improvement, said there were close to 13,000 personal computing devices, including Apple iPads, MacBooks, Chromebooks and Dell laptops, in several grades in the school district.