School board taps employee to be next superintendent

Published 9:44 pm Monday, May 17, 2021

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish School Board has selected Toyua Watson to be the next Superintendent of Concordia Parish School District.

Watson is a graduate of Ferriday High School and has served as director of secondary education in Concordia Parish since 2018.

She obtained her master’s degree in education from Northwestern State University and has 13 years of educational experience in teaching, counseling and special program management.

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The decision to hire Watson came after three-and-one-half hour interview process on Monday.

Each of two finalists for the position was interviewed in open meeting and in executive session. The other finalist was Montrell Greene, who is a minister at Sycamore Street Church in Greenwood.

After the interviews, the board voted 8-1 in favor of hiring Watson. Only Board member Raymond Riley, Ph.D., voted for Greene.

School officials said the next step in the process is to negotiate a contract that would determine Watson’s start date and compensation and the term length before the contract is up for renewal.

During her interview Monday, Watson said she has done a lot in the Concordia Parish School District in her years working there and, as superintendent, hopes to do more.

“I want to be the change that I want to see happen,” she said.

When asked how she would improve the districts graduation rate, Watson honed in on her familiarity with the parish’s schools and said most of them “have an excellent graduation rate” and she would address academic concerns at the school level in addition to working with the district as a whole.

“I believe we can take our graduation rate to 100 percent,” she said.

Board president Fred Butcher thanked other school board members for being patient and “doing their homework” on each of the applicants. In the past month, the search for a new superintendent had been narrowed down from a total of eight who applied to the two final candidates for the position.

“Mrs. Watson, you’re a local person, have worked very hard and have shown that you’ve learned a whole lot,” Butcher said at the conclusion of Monday’s board meeting before congratulating her.

Watson said she is excited to be given the opportunity to do more for her district.

She returned to Concordia Parish six years ago after working in various capacities in Rapides Parish. She taught fifth and fourth grade and was promoted to the district curriculum specialist for middle school and elementary students. She was also the 504 director for the district and trained teachers on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills test and data teams.

Watson said data is a tool that can be used to accurately track student progress and help the district reach its academic goals.

As superintendent in Concordia Parish, Watson said she plans to enhance the district’s progress monitoring

“I’ve worked under some great leaders and I wanted to give back to my own community,” she said. “They invested in me. … I want to share the knowledge I have gained with my own home.”

Watson said she also plans work with school administrators and arrange meetings where they can share with each other what is working at their schools.

“We’ve got great things going on at every single school,” she said, adding the ideas teachers and administrators share can help the district become better as a whole.

“I want everyone to give me chance,” Watson said. “I don’t mind proving myself. … If people give me a chance, I can show them that the Concordia Parish School Board made a good decision by choosing me to be their superintendent. … Everything I do I do with our children in mind.”