School Board to again discuss future of Pointe Coupee Central High _lowres

Linda D'Amico, outgoing superintendent of schools for Pointe Coupee Parish.

The job advertisement is already running and the Pointe Coupee Parish School Board on Thursday accepted Superintendent Linda D’Amico’s pending retirement.

But what the board hasn’t done yet is figure out the mechanics of how it will choose the next superintendent.

The board opted to revisit the matter during a special meeting on March 18 — five days after deadline for applications for the position.

“The board could choose to continue advertising for the position or adopt a procedure that night,” board President Frank Aguillard said during Thursday’s meeting.

Aguillard assured the audience that whatever selection process the board chooses will involve some public participation.

He said after the meeting that the board hopes to fill the position before school starts in the fall. D’Amico informed board members about her retirement plans last month.

“Everyone liked the system we used last time. I’m thinking we’ll stick somewhat close to that,” he said. “This position is the only employee the board can hire and fire. The state (Legislature) took away all of our powers to hire and fire other employees. So now, this is one of the main duties of the School Board.”

D’Amico, who has served as superintendent for 5½ years, will leave the school system on June 30 — the expiration date on her current contract.

She has worked in the Pointe Coupee Parish School District for 33 years, having also served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

At Thursday’s meeting, she held back tears as she read her retirement letter to the board: “The Pointe Coupee School System has been my life.”

She called her retirement a “very hard” decision she made with her husband but one that is best for the school system’s future.

“It was just time,” D’Amico said before Thursday night’s meeting. “It feels like the school system is at a crossroads right now. And the board needs someone that can work wholeheartedly on doing what’s best for the district.”

But D’Amico promised she will “be around” to help ease the transition for the next superintendent.

D’Amico’s retirement comes at a time when the board is about to embark on an ambitious endeavor to transform Pointe Coupee Central High into a new science, technology, engineering, math and arts academy.

The proposed plan, which is D’Amico’s, would give students the opportunity to earn high school diplomas and associate degrees simultaneously or industry-based certification that could jump-start their entry into the workforce.

A district court judge forced the school system to come up with a plan for Central after he shut it down last year at the request of the state’s Recovery School District, which failed to improve the school’s poor academic performance during the six years it managed the campus.

School officials are hoping to open the STEMA academy in the fall.

“We’re still working with the Justice Department, but nothing has been finalized with the plan yet,” she said.

The deadline to apply for superintendent is 4 p.m. March 12.

Aguillard said the School Board will have to wait at least 30 days before it can start interviews.

Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.