desk stock file photo school

During a tour of the West Jefferson High School with coronavirus precautions it can be seen that each desk in the classroom has a grey or red sticker on the top corner in Harvey, La. Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. Each period, students will be asked to alternate their use of desks and to clean them off after each class. The school is scheduled to open on August 26. (Photo by Max Becherer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

New East Baton Rouge Parish schools Superintendent Sito Narcisse has placed almost all his new hires in top administrative roles while relegating the district's former top administrators to smaller roles.

These changes are found in a new organizational chart posted Friday on the school district website. It’s a document he promised right after taking over the job on Jan. 18, but one he didn’t make final for three months.

Of the 10 people who now report directly to Narcisse, six are new hires of his, and all six occupy either new job positions, or positions that existed before but are greatly changed. The new hires make about $130,000 a year in salary.

The four holdovers from before who still report directly to the superintendent are Stacey Dupre, chief officer of support & special projects; Amy Jones, chief of technology; Andrea O’Konski, chief of accountability; and general counsel Gwynn Shamlin.

The size of Narcisse’s senior cabinet now numbers 16 and is likely to grow even more.

Narcisse pledged at the outset that his reorganization would be “budget neutral” but so far he has added at seven positions, all with six-figure salaries, with more hires coming.

Nevertheless, that is still the plan, said Taylor Gast, a spokeswoman for the school district.

“He is planning to keep it budget neutral by repurposing (other) positions,” Gast said.

The two new hires with the largest portfolios are Chief of Schools Sharon Williams and Chief Academic Office C. Michael Robinson.

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Williams, in particular, is busy and has the broadest academic territory, overseeing all executive directors who oversee what’s happening in school buildings, as well as several more areas ranging from adult education to charter school oversight. 

Williams, a native of Nashville, was most recently chief academic officer for public schools in Holmes County, a small district located in north central Mississippi.

Robinson oversees curriculum & instruction, as well as areas such as professional development and federal programs. Robinson, a native of Thibodaux, served for two years as superintendent in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, 40 miles southeast of Little Rock.

Williams and Robinson were part of a package of four new positions that the parish School Board agreed to add in January right after Narcisse was hired — he originally asked for a much larger batch of new hires but backed off when the board balked. Last week, the School Board agreed to add three more positions at Narcisse’s request.

One of those new positions is chief of literacy. Barbara Lashley whom Narcisse hired in February as director of reading, has already been promoted to that new job, upping her salary from $107,000 to $130,000 in the process. Ads for the other two new jobs — deputy chief of policy and director of equity & diversity — have been posted online, with applications due no later than May 7.

Alex Stubbs, who started in February with Lasley, has changed job positions. She is now chief of communications and public relations, a position that had been vacant, while the job she was hired in as executive assistant for parent and community engagement, is being left vacant.

There are five top administrators who no longer report directly to the superintendent. These include associate superintendent Ben Necaise and Adam Smith, who were the top administrators before Narcisse arrived. Necaise oversaw high schools while Smith oversaw middle schools. Smith served for three months as interim superintendent, but lost the top job to Narcisse in January in a 5-4 vote.

Necaise and Smith are both still associate superintendents with the same salaries as before, but with much less on their plates. Necaise now oversees workforce development and reports to Williams while Smith oversees special education and reports to Robinson.

The other administrators who no longer report directly to the superintendent are James Crochet, chief of business operations; Daphne Donaldson, chief officer for human resources; Sharmayne Rutledge, assistant superintendent for curriculum & instruction.

The new organizational chart also has at least four jobs that are currently unfilled. Two are proposed positions that the board has not yet been asked to approve: director of multi-tier systems of support (MTSS) and director of social work. Two more are approved but currently vacant: director of data and director of management information systems (MIS).


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