Veteran Ascension Parish School District educator A. Denise Graves has been named interim superintendent of the highly-rated school system.

The appointment is effective March 1, when Superintendent Patrice Pujol retires.

Pujol will become president of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, which helps schools recruit top teachers and leaders.

Graves, who is one of two assistant superintendents, has worked for the district for 35 years.

She began her career in the system in 1981 as a physical education teacher and basketball coach at St. Amant High School.

“I have given this district nothing but my best for 35 years, and they have given me more,” Graves said in a prepared statement.

“What I need you all to understand is that as of March 1, nothing changes in this school district; the vision and the goals remain the same,” she said.

The Ascension Parish School Board will do a search for a permanent superintendent.

Details of the hunt will be discussed at the next executive committee meeting of the board on Feb. 23 at 5:30 p.m.