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East Baton Rouge Schools Supt. Warren Drake weighs in on the now-postponed Oct. 31 walk-out by EBR Schools employees, outside the school board office Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.

The search for a new superintendent for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system is off to an early, uncertain start.

On Thursday, the parish School Board gave tentative approval to solicit proposals from superintendent search firms. The board is expected to give final approval when it holds its regular meeting May 16.

Warren Drake, who took over as superintendent in June 2015, has already announced plans to retire when his current contract expires on June 30, 2020, almost 14 months from now.

“We’re going to go out to the market and see what’s available,” explained board member David Tatman.

Tatman, who took office in 2011, was on the School Board when it hired an Illinois-based search firm PROACT, an acrimonious search that eventually to the hiring in 2012 of Bernard Taylor, then the superintendent in Grand Rapids, Mich. Tatman was board president in 2015 when the board opted not to hire a search firm and just advertised locally. That minimalist search led quickly to the hiring of Drake, who’d spent 10 years as superintendent in nearby Zachary schools.

Tatman said he’s not committed to either approach.

“I think we’ve had good and bad points with every method that we’ve ever used,” he said.


Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.