Bernard Taylor confirmed Friday he will be taking leave starting Monday, clearing the way for Warren Drake to take over as acting superintendent.
Taylor will remain available if needed for the month of June, until his contract expires June 30. Drake takes over as permanent superintendent July 1.
Taylor has heretofore shied away in public statements to say exactly when he would pass the baton to Drake, who has worked for the school district since May 4 as a consultant.
In a brief interview with The Advocate, Taylor confirmed that Monday is the day he’ll begin taking time off.
“(Taylor) offered any and all assistance. He said he would help any way he could to ensure a smooth transition,” board President David Tatman said.
“He’s in Baton Rouge and said if we need him, he’ll be available.”
Taylor also followed up Thursday with an email saying, “All district business would be directed to Mr. Drake starting Monday,” Tatman said.
Drake said Friday he had a cordial email exchange with Taylor on Thursday to the same effect.
“It looks like on Monday, I will become the acting superintendent,” Drake said.
Drake’s contract, approved May 7, calls for him to become acting superintendent on June 1, but that all depended upon Taylor.
“I’ve done everything that’s been asked of me,” Taylor said Friday.
The School Board wished him goodbye May 21. On Thursday, Taylor posted on the school system website his own goodbye in an “Open Letter to East Baton Rouge Parish Community.”
He also submitted the two-page letter to The Advocate, which is scheduled to run Saturday in the letters to the editor section.
In the letter, he recounts his three years leading Louisiana’s second-largest public school district. Taylor recalled three big threats facing him when he arrived: a proposal to break away part of the southeast Baton Rouge into an independent school district; plans by the state-run Recovery School District to take over as many as four low-performing schools and more in the future; and general financial problems, including soaring costs to provide health care to retirees.
“Three years after I took office, the district remains intact, no schools have been taken over by the Recovery School District due to academic deficiencies, and the retiree healthcare issue has been amicably resolved,” Taylor wrote.
He thanked staff, parents, students and community partners who supported him and the school system during his tenure.
“Their collective efforts and the support of the community will ensure that the district continues on its path of excellence,” he said.
Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.