The St. Tammany Parish School Board on Thursday appointed Anthony Alfred, the father of former School Board member Ray Alfred, to serve on the board until a special election can be held in March to replace his son, who died last month.
Anthony Alfred thanked the board for its support after Ray Alfred’s death, singling out Superintendent Trey Folse for paying tribute to his son at his funeral.
Anthony Alfred said he had not planned on applying for the interim seat, but his daughter-in-law, Ray Alfred’s wife, asked him to do so, saying it would help her heal.
Anthony Alfred was one of four applicants for the Slidell-based seat on the board. The others were former Slidell City Council member Joseph Fraught, Sharon Pender and Dennis Cousin.
After sitting through more than three hours of debate Thursday night on the school system’s Common Core-aligned math curriculum, each candidate was given an opportunity to make a presentation to the board. Alfred, nattily attired in striped slacks, vest and bow tie, said he has no plans to run in March, at one point drawing laughs with an emphatic statement on that point.
“I have absolutely no intention to run in March. Let that be put in the record,” he said.
After Alfred spoke, Fraught withdrew from consideration, saying he intends to run in March.
Pender emphasized her commitment to the community and her service to a local parent-teacher association. When asked, she said she intends to run for the seat in March.
Cousin did not attend the meeting.
In a poll that came well after 11 p.m., Alfred garnered votes from 10 of the 11 School Board members present.
The late hour did not deter Alfred, who said he planned to sit through the board’s remaining agenda items and promised to work diligently to serve the students of St. Tammany Parish.
The board observed a moment of silence for the Alfred family as they continue to mourn the loss of Ray Alfred, a six-term board member who in August qualified to run for a seventh term. He was unopposed in that race.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.