State officials Friday trimmed the list of candidates to become state superintendent of education from 21 to seven.

The finalists include Assistant State Superintendent of Education Jessica Baghian, Jefferson Parish schools superintendent Cade Brumley and former superintendent of the Recovery School District Paul Vallas.

The others are Debbra Lindo, superintendent in residence, New Schools Venture Fund; Lonnie Luce, executive director, Blended & Online School Solutions; Heather Poole, executive vice-chancellor  of the Central Louisiana Technical Community College in Alexandria and Joe Siedlecki, associate commissioner for school system support, innovation and charters, Texas Education Agency.

The names were announced by Kira Orange Jones, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education who is leading a four-person search team of BESE members.

Jones earlier said she hoped the board could decide on a superintendent during its April 20-21 meeting.

However, upheaval caused by the coronavirus may change that.

A top official of the state Department of Education, Beth Scioneaux, is serving as acting state superintendent of education.


Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.