Interim superintendent selected for EBR

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 10:06pm

The new interim superintendent of East Baton Rouge schools is already focused on the challenges ahead.

"To make sure we get back to the matter at hand," said Carlos J. Sam. "Focusing on student achievement, and teachers focusing on student achievement, and principals too."

It's been a drama-filled process leading up to Sam's selection, with board members fighting and throwing fits of anger, all in front of the public.

"What have we done? We've gone against protocol," said School Board Vice President Tarvald Smith. "Gone against logic."

Some board members including Smith wanted Chief Academic Officer Herman Brister to take over the top spot. And many members of the public were angry that Brister was not chosen.

"They've dedicated their lives to educating the children in East Baton Rouge," said one member of the public, speaking about Brister and his family. "And this is how you thank the family?"

But many people in the audience know Sam, and vouched for the man who's logged over two decades in the East Baton Rouge School District.

"He's always been there for me," said district employee Claudia Brown. "I could go to him, I could talk about problems that occur."

Sam is currently director of inovative and specialized programs. Board members said him leaving that post won't disrupt operations within the district, to the extent that Herman Brister's departure would.

But some members of the public are clearly frustrated with the board's performance, looking back over this two-week fiasco, that's finally brought some results.

"Can't wait for two-and-a-half years when the people go to the polls," said Smith.

The board will open up the search for a permanent superintendent after consulting with the same search firm that was unsuccessful in finding a candidate previously.

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