About 30 days after the Jefferson Parish public school system began its search for a new superintendent, the outgoing superintendent’s hand-picked successor submitted the first application for the job.
The system received an application from Deputy Superintendent Michelle Blouin-Williams on Wednesday evening, School Board President Cedric Floyd said.
Applications must be postmarked by Thursday, and Floyd said he expected between two and five more candidates would enter their names for consideration by the board before the deadline passes.
Outgoing Superintendent James Meza’s contract is set to expire Jan. 31. In October, he promoted Blouin-Williams to be his No. 2 after a stint as the system’s chief academics officer. He began familiarizing her with nonacademic issues to facilitate his eventually handing the reins over to her.
But at the time Blouin-Williams was promoted, the School Board did not have the same composition it’s had since the fall elections. Following those elections, for the first time in four years, members backed by the parish’s business interests were reduced to a minority; five members backed by the teachers union now hold a slim majority.
Meza was closely aligned with the business-backed board members. Nonetheless, several of the members supported by the teachers union have said they view Blouin-Williams as a viable candidate despite the shift in power.
She has been a part of the Jefferson school system since 1989, starting as a mathematics teacher.
The largest public school system in Louisiana, Jefferson Parish has not widely advertised the fact that it is seeking a new superintendent when Meza’s contract — extended more than once since he was brought on in 2011 — lapses at the end of the month. There have been notices on the system’s website at jpschools.org as well as in its official journal, The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Floyd said.
Floyd said the earliest the School Board could consider candidates for superintendent is Jan. 29.