GONZALES — A Louisiana native looking to return to her home state and a Texas native looking to learn about a new community were the final two candidates interviewed by Ascension Parish School Board for the job of schools superintendent.
Board members talked via Skype on Thursday with A. Katrise Perera, the Louisiana native who’s spent her career outside the state.
Perera is currently the national director for urban markets for McGraw-Hill Education in Iowa. Prior to that, she was superintendent of the Isle of Wight County Schools in Smithfield, Virginia.
Board members also interviewed Rita Hernandez, a Texas native who serves as an area superintendent in the Brownsville, Texas, independent school district.
In interviews that lasted about an hour for each candidate, Perera, when asked to name the first three things she’d do if hired as Ascension superintendent, said: “My priorities would be getting to know what your priorities are.
“I’d also listen to students, teachers and support staff, and I’d meet with the community, with faith-based leaders and business leaders, to continue to build upon the excellent school system you have.”
Hernandez, in answer to the same question, said: “I’d hold a ‘listening tour’ in the community, to hear concerns of parents, teachers and the community.
“I’d schedule a retreat for administrators and the board to better understand what your goals are,” she said.
Hernandez also said she’d look at all aspects of the school system, such as personnel and emergency preparedness, “to make sure we’re ready for the school year.”
On Wednesday, board members interviewed via Skype two other semifinalists for the position left vacant when Patrice Pujol retired in February: Jerome Puyau, superintendent with Vermilion Parish schools, and Stacy Scott, superintendent with Framingham public schools in Massachusetts.
At its next meeting, on Tuesday, the board will announce the finalists.
In-person interviews of those candidates will be held in open sessions.