Domoine D. Rutledge, attorney for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system for the past eight years, plans to run for the District 8 seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

In a statement of candidacy, Rutledge said he is running to improve outcomes for all students. He also wants to transform the board and the Louisiana Department of Education, which BESE oversees, from a posture of compliance to one that embraces inter-agency accountability and support for local educational agencies.

Rutledge said he wants to help as BESE selects the next head of the Department of Education. He described the selection as one of “vital importance.”

“Throughout the K-12 educational community in this state, there is an unnecessary divide between local educational agencies and the state Department of Education,” Rutledge said.

“I want to work to bridge that gap and eliminate whatever divides us without compromising the importance of holding adults and students alike accountable for fostering safe, caring, and academically rigorous school environments,” he said.

Rutledge said he also wishes to see an intensive focus on principal leadership development, enhanced support and professional development for classroom teachers, effective use and integration of technology, the implementation of effective responses to intervention for students who need help, and better parental/community involvement.

Rutledge is a lifelong resident of East Baton Rouge Parish and is married to the former Sharmayne Raby, who is an elementary school principal and doctoral candidate in educational leadership.

The couple has two sons, both of whom attend public schools.

In a June 10 opinion requested by state Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office said Rutledge could serve on BESE and keep his job as general counsel for the parish school system without violating Louisiana’s dual office-holding law.

Attorney general opinions do not hold the weight of judicial rulings.

The primary election is Oct. 22, with a Nov. 19 runoff, if necessary. Qualifying takes place Sept. 6 to 8.