desks school stock classroom

With days to go before a Feb. 16 application deadline, the search firm hired to find the next East Baton Rouge Parish schools superintendent is asking the School Board to approve its plan to help the board dig through the applicant pool to find that person.

The School Board has called a special meeting for Thursday night to consider the three pages of recommendations from Austin, Texas-based JG Consulting. The meeting is set to start after the board’s 5 p.m. Committee of the Whole meeting. Both meetings will take place at the School Board Office, 1050 S. Foster Drive.

The recommendations mirror what the search firm has told the board previously about its plans, but the firm goes into more detail.

Board President Mike Gaudet said holding a special meeting is just the board's way of trying to remain open and transparent as it works toward this important decision.

The board hired JG Consulting in October. The firm’s timetable calls for picking a new superintendent by early April. That person will replace Warren Drake, who is retiring June 30 after five years running the state’s second-largest traditional school district.

Here’s what still to come in the search:

  • After the applications are in on Feb. 16, the search firm plans to determine which candidates meet the minimum qualifications for the job and then narrow the field further to a Group A of the top 10 candidates as well as a Group B of five additional qualified candidates.
  • From Feb. 16 to Feb. 28, the search firm plans to invite all qualified candidates to do short video interviews. The firm also may ask some candidates to provide additional information.
  • Between Feb. 29 and March 2, board members would review candidate profiles on their own.
  • On March 5, the board would select finalists — the firm is recommending picking just two or three — to come to Baton Rouge for interviews.
  • Those interviews would occur sometime between March 16 and 31. The search firm plans to provide the board questions to ask the finalists.

JG Consulting does not specify the date on which it will name the top 10 as well as five additional qualified candidates.

“That will be determined on Thursday,” said James Guerra, founder of JG Consulting.

The board still has to decide how much of a part residents will play when finalists come for interviews. A couple of groups have asked the board to have the candidates speak to them when the finalists come to town.

Still to be decided is whether board members visit the school districts where finalists work. The School Board did site visits in 2009 in the search that led to the hiring of John Dilworth.

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