GONZALES — The Ascension Parish School Board officially accepted Superintendent Patrice Pujol’s retirement this week — but it didn’t want to.

“I’ll make a motion to remove it from the agenda,” joked board member Scott Duplechein of the agenda item accepting Pujol’s retirement, at the School Board’s meeting Tuesday.

Meanwhile, A. Denise Graves, whom the board approved Tuesday to step in as interim superintendent until a new superintendent is hired, also received a standing ovation Tuesday.

Pujol is retiring after 39 years with the school district, the last six as superintendent, on March 1 to become president of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, an organization that helps schools attract and develop top teachers and leaders.

“It’s been an honor to serve with Mrs. Pujol. She took us to another level,” said board member John Murphy.

“It’s really hard to leave here and the work we’ve done together,” said Pujol, who teared up at one point in her remarks.

“I know I will leave Ascension in great hands. Thank you, thank you for a great career,” said Pujol, who received a standing ovation from board members and the audience.

Pujol’s temporary replacement, Graves, has been with the school district for 35 years and is one of two assistant superintendents with Ascension Parish public schools.

“On March 1, nothing changes in this district,” Graves said. “I know the district is going to do the right thing for our children. We’ve always put children first.”

Also on Tuesday, several new principals and an associate principal were introduced to the board.

New principals include Jennifer Board, Duplessis Primary; Roddy Melancon, Gonzales Primary; and Karen Daigle, Lowery Elementary.

The new principals were each formerly assistant principals at their schools.

At Gonzales Primary and Lowery Elementary, the former principals, Jaimee Williams and Dawn Love, respectively, have been promoted to instructional leadership partners.

The former principal at Duplessis Primary, Twana Hilton-Pitre, has retired.

Also, Randall Loving, formerly assistant principal at Dutchtown High, has been named associate principal of the school’s Freshman Academy for ninth-graders.

Former Associate Principal Kathleen Lapiparo has been promoted to be an instructional leadership partner.