CPSD board renews leadership academy

Published 12:29 am Friday, October 9, 2015

NATCHEZ — Concordia Parish schoolteachers will soon have the opportunity to hit the books and learn how to better lead.

The Concordia Parish School board voted 7-1 Thursday to renew the district’s Leadership Development Academy.

Superintendent Paul Nelson said the academy went dormant four years ago because of low participation.

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“We want to try to develop a pipeline of administrators in the district,” Nelson said. “We don’t have a large amount of qualified people in the system right now, and we want to change that.”

Nelson said the district would begin accepting applications for the academy in October, interview applicants in November and begin initiating the program in December.

The academy, Nelson said, would require educators to spend extra time outside of teaching to learn how to perform administrative duties.

“We will have training opportunities for them and specialized sections on school law, special education, finance, things like that,” Nelson said. “Then, we will probably have some opportunities where they can shadow administrators throughout the district.”

Nelson said approximately 10 to 15 teachers would be selected for the academy.

The academy, Nelson said, would be funded through the district’s general fund, and would cost, at most, approximately $20,000.

Board member Ricky Raven, who voted against renewing the program, said he thought the academy’s renewal was premature.

“I just question the timing of it,” Raven said. “It’s not in our budget, and we don’t know all the details of how the program would be carried out.”

Raven said he supported all of the academy’s goals, but thought it would be better to begin implementing the program once the 2015-2016 school year ends.

“I would have liked to develop it for next year,” he said.

Board member Ronnie Bradford was absent from the meeting.

In other school news:

-Glenn Henderson, supervisor of maintenance and transportation for the school district, updated the board on renovations made to the Ferriday Junior High School gymnasium.

The gym floor suffered water damage in July when unsupervised students accidentally broke sprinkler heads located beneath gym bleachers, causing water to flood the gym.

Henderson said the gym would be completed tomorrow or Saturday, but advised the board that the gym floor couldn’t be walked on until Monday, Oct. 19.

Henderson said the gym finish — the material laid on top of the gym floor — needed time to harden.

Nelson said the floor should remain off limits until it’s fully hardened.

“The plan is to leave the gym floor dormant to ensure it’s hard,” Nelson said.

Henderson said the gym’s bleachers were also anchored in this week and the sprinkler system had been reconnected, but the water has not been turned on.

Board member Raymond Riley said he hopes July’s incident was a one-time occurrence.

“It cost us a lot of money and we certainly don’t want to go through it again,” he said.

Tom O’Neal, director of business affairs for the board, said it cost the district approximately $102,000 to repair the gym.

-Twelve Concordia Parish students received the Sidney A. Murray Hydroelectric Citizenship award.

The award is given to students who demonstrate good behavior, Nelson said.

School faculty and staff choose recipients.

Students who received the award from Ferriday High School include Kaytlyn Brown, 9th grade; Cleonia Cummings, 10th grade; Malik Hampton, 11th grade and Ventra Poole, 12th grade.

Recipients from Vidalia High School include Tiffany Brewer, 9th grade; Kaitlyn Randall, 10th grade; JohnT’Aire Martin, 11th grade and Erick Burton, 12th grade.

Recipients from Monterey High School include Breanna Ballard, 9th grade; Noah Young, 10th grade; Madison Taliaferro, 11th grade and Danielle Morace, 12th grade.

Nelson said at the board’s next meeting, parish junior high school recipients would be announced.

-The board met in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss personnel matters.