DONALDSONVILLE — The Ascension Parish School Board on Tuesday recognized its outgoing members, two of whom served on the board for more than 20 years.
Catherine Davis served for 23 years, since 1991, and A.J. Nickens served for 38 years, since 1976.
“Your term on the board has spanned my entire career,” Superintendent Patrice Pujol told Nickens, 76; she said she began teaching in the Ascension Parish school system in 1977.
Nickens, who withdrew from his re-election campaign, is being replaced by Shawn Sevario, of Prairieville.
Davis decided not to run. Running for the West Bank seat in Saturday’s election are Robyn Penn Delaney and Jevella Williamson.
Pujol commended Davis, Nickens and other outgoing board members Thomas “Moose” Pearce, Jamie Bourgeois and Richard Brown for their “service to our students.”
“We will miss you,” Pujol said.
Pearce and Bourgeois served since 2011, and Brown, who was not present at Tuesday night’s School Board meeting, served since 2012.
Pearce, who chose not to run for re-election, is being replaced by Scott Duplechein.
Bourgeois, who withdrew from his re-election campaign, is being replaced by Louis Lambert.
Brown, who also chose not to run for re-election, is being replaced by Julie Blouin.
“I appreciate everybody’s time and input into the School Board,” board president Troy Gautreau told the outgoing members. “Juggling careers and trying to raise a family,” it’s not easy.
“Thank you. You’ve made me a better board member,” Gautreau said.
Also on Tuesday, the School Board took the recommendation of consultant Kimberly Williams, owner of New Millennium Education of Baton Rouge, a third-party organization, in denying an application for a charter school from the R. Rayborn Charter School.
Williams said it was not clear how the school would be offering something unique in the school district, as required for a charter school, and it also was not clear how the school would implement Common Core state standards.
Several parish residents spoke in favor of the charter school to the board, before its vote denying the application. Those speaking included Eartha Rayborn, one of the organizers of the proposed school, who has a tutoring program and summer educational program for children in the parish.
“The children you have that you can’t reach, I have worked with them,” said Rayborn, a former teacher and principal in the school system.
“There’s a small segment of the student population that is not achieving,” she said. “I know how to work with them.”