Concordia School Board interviews four candidates for superintendent’s job

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; An almost three-hour executive session ruled the Concordia Parish School Board meeting Tuesday night as the board discussed and talked to four candidates for its open superintendent position.

A four-person search committee interviewed four candidates Monday and Tuesday for the opening.

Four diverse candidates await a decision.

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They include Kerry P. Laster, a principal at Shreve Island Elementary School in Caddo Parish.

Laster, a Ferriday native and graduate of Ferriday High School, taught one year in Concordia Parish, one in Texas and one in Arkansas before staying put in Shreveport.

She has served as a teacher, curriculum coordinator and principal during her 32-year education career.

&uot;Concordia Parish is home,&uot; Laster said. &uot;I’ve lived here all of my life until I moved (to teach).&uot;

Laster was a finalist for the Caddo Parish superintendent job and sees this position as a challenge.

&uot;I think it is a good school district, but it would be my job to make it a great district,&uot; Laster said.

Shreve Island is a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Laster said that, armed with such accomplishments, she wants to enhance what the Concordia district already has going.

Daphene O. Singleton, director of human resources for the Monroe City School District, is another candidate for the Concordia position.

She has taught elementary school, been an assistant principal and served as director of student development at the University of Louisiana at Monroe and has served in her current post for eight years.

Singleton said she has much respect for this area and the friendliness of its people and has a keen interest in Concordia Parish.

Singleton said she believes that every decision made should involve children and that teamwork is the key to education. She said she is confident in her abilities to perform in a leadership role.

&uot;I feel my professional experience has readied me for this position,&uot; Singleton said.

&uot;I would say I’m a well developed leader where there is demonstrated evidence of being successful.&uot;

The other two candidates are homegrown teachers, faculty members and administrators in the Concordia Parish School District.

Julius Huhn spent one year teaching in Mississippi before finding a home in Concordia Parish.

He has spent 40 years there, starting as a science teacher and coach at Vidalia High School before moving to principal there.

He started work in the central office in 1979 and has worked there ever since, moving from supervisor of secondary education to his current job as director of federal programs.

With the mentality of a coach, Huhn said that &uot;if you give me the helm, I can bring this ship to port.&uot;

Huhn said schools need to produce students who can compete in the world market. &uot;It sounds like a foreign concept for Concordia Parish, but it is real life,&uot; Huhn said.

When it comes to leadership, Huhn said he would follow the four C’s: to care, be committed, be competent and reap the consequences &045; the enjoyment of winning.

Fred T. Butcher, a Clayton native, graduated from the old Sevier High School in Ferriday in 1967 and began teaching at Ferriday High in 1971.

He served as an assistant principal, principal for 17 years at Ferriday High School and director of academics in the central office (for the last eight years).

He then served as interim principal at Ferriday Junior High and then the high school for the last three years &045; in all, 32 years in Concordia Parish.

&uot;This school district has been my life and my livelihood,&uot; Butcher said.

Butcher has worked in almost all of the positions in the system and has worked with people from all of the communities the school district has schools in.

&uot;My number one focus is academics,&uot; Butcher said, &uot;because you have to give every child that walks through the door a fighting chance to learn and relearn.&uot;

The board will hold another special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss and consider the applications and the applicants.