East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake has filled key vacancies in his senior cabinet as well as replaced the outgoing McKinley High School Principal Herman Brister Jr. by promoting mostly from within the public school district.

Drake tapped Ben Necaise, the executive director for high schools, to take over the newly created position of associate superintendent, putting him on the same level as existing Associate Superintendent Adam Smith.

Since Drake hired him almost two years ago, Necaise oversaw middle and later high schools. In his new job, he will continue to oversee those areas while Smith will focus on elementary schools. Before he joined the East Baton Rouge school system, Necaise was a consultant in the Louisiana Department of Education and also spent five years as principal of West Feliciana Middle School in St. Francisville.

Drake recently reorganized his top leadership in the wake of the surprise May resignation of Deputy Superintendent Michelle Clayton. Drake opted to eliminate the deputy superintendent job in favor of having two associate superintendents.

That chart also includes a new assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction position. Drake said Quintina Timoll has agreed to take the new job and plans to start Aug. 14. Timoll holds the same position in St. John the Baptist Parish public schools. St. John is a B-rated school district, while East Baton Rouge Parish has a C letter grade. East Baton Rouge Parish’s enrollment, though, is almost seven times larger than St. John’s.

“She lives in Baton Rouge and her kids are in our system,” Drake said.

One of Timoll’s duties will be overseeing “technology integration.” Last year, Executive Director for School Leadership Sharmayne Rutledge led that area, while still working with schools. Drake said from now on technology will be her sole duty.

“That’s an area where we have to get better,” Drake said.

Rutledge has been overseeing the training of teachers in the use of Chromebooks. The school system bought more than 13,000 of them a year ago for grades five through eighth and recently purchased another 6,000 Chromebooks, Drake said.

Meanwhile, at McKinley High, a large public high school in Baton Rouge that enrolled nearly 1,400 students last year, Drake promoted Assistant Principal James Kador to replace Brister. Prior to coming to McKinley High, Kador was an assistant principal at Baker High School. Drake said he likes that Kador is ex-military.

“It’s obvious that he has the vision, he has the desire and the passion,” Drake said.

Drake also made changes to the rest of the leadership at McKinley High, promoting a dean of students to assistant principal and moving an assistant principal at another school, Brookstown Middle, to help the large high school.

Brister took over as principal at McKinley High in 2014 after longtime principal Armond Brown shifted to another job due to health problems. Brister was named the new director of Southern University Lab School on July 21 in a vote of the university’s board of directors.

As director, Brister will oversee a brick-and-mortar school of about 400 students on the Southern campus,, and a virtual school that reaches nearly 400 students across Louisiana.

Brister's salary will be $120,000, which is $30,000 more than his predecessor, Averil Sanders, made when he was hired in May 2016.

In another recent leadership change, Assistant Principal Cesar Rico was promoted to principal of Twin Oaks Elementary School. Twin Oaks flooded in August 2016 and was repaired in less than two months, the first flooded Baton Rouge public school to reopen. During that time, Twin Oaks students were sent to three different locations.

Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier