Michelle Clayton  (copy)

Michelle Clayton

Statewide online charter school University View Academy has hired former East Baton Rouge Parish Deputy Superintendent Michelle Clayton as its new associate superintendent of innovation and as interim principal for grades kindergarten to eight.

The Baton Rouge-based school announced the hire Tuesday afternoon.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to help students across the state and be part of the innovative delivery model at University View Academy,” Clayton said in a press release from the online charter school. “The school has a tradition of academic achievement and I will continue to build on that strong foundation.”

Clayton surprised the local education world in early May when she announced she was stepping down as the number two person in East Baton Rouge Parish despite being very close to her longtime boss, Warren Drake, whom she previously worked with for years in Zachary. Drake has routinely given Clayton high praise through the years and many in the school system considered her Drake’s likely successor. Clayton told The Advocate in May she’d been mulling leaving for awhile, saying many factors played into her decision, but would not elaborate.

Lonnie Luce, superintendent for University View, said Clayton will oversee implementing a new elementary curriculum and assist Luce with data analysis and planning focused on improving the academic performance of all student in all subjects.

University View Academy was until recently known as Louisiana Connections Academy and is no longer affiliated with Connections Education of Baltimore as it had been since it opened 2011.

University educates more than 2,200 students in grades kindergarten to 12 in almost every parish in the state.

Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier