EBR Finalists

Interim Superintendent Adam Smith, who collapsed Friday night while answering questions about why he wants the job permanently, will resume his interrupted interview Thursday afternoon with the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board.

The revised schedule, announced Tuesday, will give Smith 150 minutes to finish up the interview, starting at 4 p.m. Thursday. Immediately after he finishes, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the School Board plans to select a new permanent superintendent.

Smith is one of three finalists for the job. The other finalists are Sito Narcisse, chief of secondary schools for Washington, D.C. Public Schools, and Marla Sheppard, deputy superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools. They were among 21 applicants for the job.

Narcisse and Sheppard both answered questions for four hours each in public interviews held last week.

On Thursday, Smith will answer questions for an hour from the public at a town hall, followed by 90 minutes for a formal board interview with questions posed only by board members. His interview, in all, will be about an hour shorter than those of the other candidates.

Board President Mike Gaudet said Smith had the option of interviewing longer but chose this option.

"I just don’t want anyone to feel we are slighting him because we are not," Gaudet said. "This is with the full concurrence."

After selecting a new superintendent, the School Board will continue meeting on other business. The interviews and meetings will all be held at the Professional Development Center, 3000 N. Sherwood Forest Drive, and will be livestreamed on the school district's YouTube channel.

Smith suffered from an apparently mild case of COVID-19 over the winter break, but was thought to be recovered. After his collapse Friday, Smith seemed to recover quickly, getting up and walking out on his own feet, unassisted. He was taken by EMS to the hospital and was discharged Friday night. On Monday, he went to see his doctor for further examination, Gaudet said.

This is the second search in a year for someone to fill to find a top leader for the school system, home to more than 40,000 students. The new search was prompted by the unexpected resignation of Leslie Brown in October due to an unspecified medical condition that she said made her unable to continue in the job. Brown replaced Warren Drake, who retired in July after five years at the helm.

Smith, a 24-year veteran of the school system, was promoted to interim superintendent in October after Brown's departure.


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