BATON ROUGE, La. - The East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) held a public town hall meeting to get input on who should be the next superintendent.
The meeting was held Wednesday, June 10.
The two remaining candidates, Dr. Nakia Towns and Leslie Brown, were at the meeting to answer questions from the public.
Brown is the chief portfolio services officer for Broward County Public Schools in Florida, while Dr. Towns is the chief of staff for the Hamilton County Department of Education in Tennessee.
The two finalists were able to plead their case to parents, some board members, and all the folks watching the town hall online.
“Making sure that we have universally high expectations for all of our students, and all of our students and families have access to a high quality public school, and every child is in front of a great teacher every day,” said Dr. Towns.
“That there is equity and a high quality seat for every child in East Baton Rouge Parish. That is essential to making sure every single child has the same opportunity for a highly rigorous curriculum,” said Brown.
Whomever is chosen by the board to lead the school system will have a ton of issues to tackle, including dealing with COVID-19 in the fall.
“We want to make sure that we set up opportunities for all of the families, to meet the needs of their families and their children. It will not be a one size fits all, and health and safety will absolutely be number one,” said Brown.
“We’re going to work closely with the state department and with the governor as to what they believe will happen, depending on what phase we’re in for schools, and what we’re going to do is plan for all levels of contingencies,” said Dr. Towns.
Another big issue is the impact on EBR schools of St. George potentially creating its own school district.
“So one of my first efforts, if I am named superintendent, is to go talk to the people of the St. George community and find out what is it, what are their needs, what are their priorities, of what they want to have addressed. I think that it is imperative that we maintain a unified East Baton Rouge Parish School System,” said Dr. Towns.
“If there are things that the St. George community believes that they need, the East Baton Rouge School System needs to take a look at that and treat them as equitably as we do other students across the school district. There’s some work to be done there, and I believe that we can do it as a collaborative, working with the community,” said Brown.
The board will decide who will be the next superintendent at their board meeting in two weeks.