Jacqueline Mims was chosen Thursday to return to the seat she held for 13 years, in the process replacing the man who replaced her 11 years ago, Tarvald Smith.
Mims beat out six other candidates to return to the board she served on from 1991 to 2004. She was succeeded by Smith, who represented District 4, until he was elected Oct. 24 to Baton Rouge City Court.
And now Mims is back, at least for a few months. Her appointment will continue until a planned March 5 special election when District 4 voters can choose whom they want to represent them. Mims said she does not intend to run in that election.
“I ran as an education reformer back then, and I’m still an education reformer today,” Mims said after the vote, though she noted that the term has a different meaning today.
Mims, a professional counselor with her own practice, served as president of the School Board in 2003 and 2004 until she resigned during her fourth term. Mims, 59, said she has remained active in education since leaving the board, most recently in the ongoing effort to reopen and return Istrouma High School to local control.
In her application, Mims said she is an independent, and works to bring differences and find consensus.
“I see through party lines and political agendas in my decision-making,” she said.
Mims runs a cognitive behavioral center in Baton Rouge that she founded in 1989. Since 2013, she has served on the Louisiana Licensed Professional Counselors Board of Examiners.
The vote on Thursday was 6-2 in Mims’ favor. Dawn Collins was the only one of the six other applicants who was nominated or earned votes. Board members Vereta Lee and Kenyetta Nelson-Smith voted for Collins. Lee serves on the East Baton Rouge Parish Democratic Party Executive Committee, which Collins has led since 2012.
Collins, 39, said she plans to run in the March 5 special election. She is an instructor at Remington College, a nonprofit technical college based in suburban Orlando, Florida. She has two children who have attended Baton Rouge public schools.
The other applicants Thursday were Donald R. Green, Robert Maxie Sr., Reginald Pitcher Sr., Edward Pratt and Ta-Tanisha T. Youngblood.
Beside Collins, it’s not clear how many will seek to run for the job in March. Youngblood, who had several supporters speak for her — she is the vice president of the parent-teacher organization at Dufrocq Elementary School — said she had not planned on going beyond seeking a temporary appointment but said she will think about running. Maxie already ran for District 4 before in 2014, losing to Smith.
District 4, which covers the eastern portion of north Baton Rouge, is bounded on the south by Florida Boulevard and on the north by Greenwell Street, Joor Road and the Comite River. Lobdell Avenue and Elm Drive form much of its western edge while Flannery Road bounds it on the east.