Vidalia High principal transferred

Published 12:06 am Thursday, May 28, 2015

VIDALIA — Longtime principal at Vidalia High School Rick Brown has been transferred to Ferriday Lower Elementary.

“The move was a superintendent decision,” Concordia Parish School Board member Ricky Raven said. “If we were going to make changes, I wish it could have been done earlier so that the community could have known sooner so they could have more time to process the information.”

Brown was among the several administrators who were reassigned by Concordia Parish School Board Superintendent Paul Nelson.

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Other changes included Charles Anderson, principal at Vidalia Lower Elementary, to principal at Vidalia High School; Ariana Davis, principal at Ferriday Junior High School, to principal at Vidalia Lower Elementary; Bobbie Hinson, principal at Ferriday Lower Elementary, to principal at Ferriday Junior High School.

“We made some changes around the parish to get some new ideas in new locations,” Nelson said.

Brown served as principal at

Vidalia High School for 17 years, making an impact among students, parents and teachers.

Brown said he isn’t happy with the change.

“I didn’t have any say so and I didn’t ask for it,” Brown said. “It’s a superintendent decision and by state law he can move anyone in the parish.”

Brown said the reasoning behind the change has not been justified in his eyes.

“He wants us to be an A school,” Brown said, referring to school accountability scores. “We are a B school and that’s tough for any school in Louisiana to maintain. In my opinion, there are other things involved in the decision than just us not being an A school.”

According to Brown, Nelson said moving him to an elementary school would be less stressful.

“At the end of this year I would have been in the high school system for 38 years,” Brown said. “My main background is high school.”

Brown has also worked with Ferriday and Monterey High School in the past, witnessing many different cultures.

“After 17 years at Vidalia, it’s a little tough to accept the reasoning and other things involved with the decision,” Brown said. “I am disappointed in the way it was handled.”

Although Brown has been eligible for retirement for the last three years, it was the students and teachers at Vidalia High School that have kept him going.

“I just hate to leave the kids and faculty,” Brown said. “The kids are great. They understand that I expect a lot out of them, and they also understand that I love them. I told our teachers if all we do is teach academics, then we are missing the boat. We have to teach our kids to be adults.”

Brown said he has confidence in the students and teachers at Vidalia High School — not because of what he’s done, but because of who attends the school.

“I wanted to end my career here,” Brown said. “I fought it as much as I could.”

Brown has not fully decided about the move to Ferriday Lower Elementary or a possible retirement.

“If I don’t do it, I could be fired for insubordination,” Brown said. “If I want to keep a job in the parish, I have to go to Ferriday Lower.”

Vidalia residents Paul and Missy Cangemi expressed their concerns with the changes of administration in the parish.

“Both of my kids respect Mr. Brown,” Paul Cangemi said. “I’m afraid that they are making a huge mistake moving him.”

Missy said Brown has treated every kid fairly, and that he has done nothing wrong.

The administrative changes will be effective on July 1.