At its first meeting of the new year, there were changes of the guard on both the Ascension Parish school district’s board and administration.

Patricia “Pat” Russo was elected president of the board, after she got a nomination and a second from board members Troy Gautreau and Shawn Sevario, respectively.

No other nominations were made.

“We will continue to work as a team, along with Ms. Pujol and her staff,” said Russo, referring to schools Superintendent Patrice Pujol.

Russo, in her 18th year as a School Board member, represents District 7B, which includes parts of Gonzales and the Dutchtown community.

Following protocol, outgoing board President Lorraine Wimberly and Russo traded places at Tuesday’s meeting, and Russo presided over the remainder of the meeting.

Taft Kleinpeter, who represents District 5B, which includes the Galvez and Prairieville areas, will serve as vice president of the board for the second consecutive year, being the only nominee for the office.

He was nominated by Shawn Sevario, and the nomination got a second from Louis Lambert.

It was announced Tuesday that David Alexander, the school system’s director of secondary education, is retiring to take the position of director of education and training at Pelican Chapter Associated Builders and Contractors in Baton Rouge.

Pujol commended him for his 20 years in education in Ascension Parish and noted that Alexander had been instrumental in creating a partnership between the school district and the Pelican Chapter ABC to train high school students in industrial crafts.

The new director of secondary education is Lisa Bacala, who has served as supervisor of secondary education for 10 years.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to do what I love,” Bacala said of the new appointment.

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