A search firm presented the West Baton Rouge Parish School Board with its top five candidates to replace retiring Superintendent David Corona.

The list of qualified candidates includes two people already working within the West Baton Rouge school system, in addition to applicants from Thibodaux, Texas and Georgia.

B.W.P. and Associates presented its superintendent search report to the School Board at a special meeting Wednesday night.

“You were a strong attraction from the southeast portion of the state; there was a lot of strong interest in the position,” said Sandra Sims-deGraffenried, a lead consultant with the search firm, to board members.

B.W.P. and Associates was hired in December to conduct a regional search for a replacement for Corona, who announced in October he was retiring in July after 10 years of heading the West Baton Rouge Parish school system.

Sims-deGraffenried said 23 people applied for the position, which pays a $151,000 salary to Corona.

The search firm reported that the job announcement attracted applications from nine states, including New York, California and Illinois. The firm received 11 applications from Louisiana educators.

Sims-deGraffenried said the job announcement for the position was crafted from interviews the firm’s representatives had with local leaders and with individual School Board members, as well as an online community survey which generated more than 300 responses.

“We got input from a good cross section of the community. It’s one of the best responses we’ve had,” she said.

Board President Jason Manola said the board likely will schedule public interviews with each candidate during the last two weeks in May.

He said the community will be able to interact with candidates during possible meet-and-greet functions.

The board hopes to make a decision regarding Corona’s replacement by July 1, Manola said.

“There could be a second round of interviews, unless someone just knocks our socks off,” Manola said before Wednesday night’s meeting. “(Corona) has already said he’ll stay on a little longer to help in the transition if need be.”

The top five candidates presented to the board Wednesday are:

  • John Jackson, administrative liaison for the University of North Georgia and former superintendent of the Oconee County School District. He holds degrees from McNeese State University and LSU.
  • Charles Michel, supervisor of special education for the Lafourche Parish School Board in Thibodaux. He holds degrees from Nicholls State University and Sam Houston University.
  • Victoria Miles, director of general education support for the Keller Independent School District in Texas. She holds degrees from Southern University, California State University, University of Missouri and St. Louis University.
  • Frances Mire, associate superintendent of human resources and staff development for West Baton Rouge Parish Schools, who holds degrees from LSU.
  • Amy Westbrook, principal of Chamberlin Elementary in Port Allen. She holds degrees from George Washington University and LSU.