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Baker High School, Friday, August 11, 2017, in Baker, La.

The Baker City School Board on Saturday is interviewing three finalists, including its current interim superintendent, before picking the next leader of this small suburban Baton Rouge school district.

The board last month pulled them from a pool of eight applicants seeking to run the school district of more than 1,100 students. The last superintendent, Herman Brister Sr., abruptly resigned in September after five years at the helm.

The interviews will all conducted at the board office at 14750 Plank Road with the five Baker City School Board members asking questions. The meeting is set to start at 8:30 a.m. All three finalists have elected to have their interviews in public.

The finalists will be interviewed in the following order and the following times of day:

  • Tamara Johnson, a Central Office administrator for the East Baton Rouge Parish school system, from 9 to 10:45 a.m.
  • Calvin Nicholas, former principal of East Iberville Elementary and High School in Plaquemine, from 11:30 to 1:15 p.m.
  • De’Ette Perry, interim Baker superintendent since Jan. 1, from 1:45 to 3:30 p.m.

The board plans to pick its next superintendent from the three finalists at its May 4 meeting.

The interview sessions are being organized by search consultant Michael Faulk, a former superintendent himself and the executive director of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

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Interim Superintendent Perry has been with Baker since it broke away from the East Baton Rouge Parish school system in summer 2003. She started as principal of Baker Heights Elementary and has held a succession of Central Office jobs in Baker, most recently as the district’s K-12 instructional supervisor.

Perry has 31 years of experience in education, starting with 11 years as a classroom teacher in Baton Rouge. She has a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

During her 21 years in education, Johnson has worked in Zachary and for the Louisiana Department of Education. She has spent the past five years as an executive director for school leadership in the East Baton Rouge district, leading an overhaul of the district’s alternative schools. She got her start in 1999 as a schoolteacher in Baton Rouge. She has a master’s degree in education from Southern University in Baton Rouge.

Nicholas has worked in Baker before, serving as assistant principal of Baker High from 2013 to 2015. From 2015 until he submitted his retirement notice last October, Nicholas had been principal at the high school in East Iberville.

A former football star, Nicholas has had a 31-year career in education. He earned a doctorate in education in 2013 from the now-shuttered Argosy University, a national, for-profit school.

He made news in September 2015 when he was fired from Scotlandville High, where he’d recently taken over as principal, for using a stick to break up a student fight. He later won a lawsuit for wrongful termination.


Email Charles Lussier at clussier@theadvocate.com and follow him on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.