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New EBR Superintendent, Leslie Brown, Resigns

Leslie Brown

BATON ROUGE, La. - Leslie Brown, the new superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS), has announced her resignation.

The announcement came down Wednesday, Oct. 7. Brown’s husband sent the resignation letter to the school board on her behalf.

Brown announced her resignation today, and EBR School Board members were shocked by the announcement.

“My initial reaction is really just hope and prayers for the Brown family because not only has she become our new superintendent, but she had also become a friend,” says Michael Gaudet who is the President of EBR parish school system. Brown’s husband sent the resignation letter to the school on her behalf.

“Today, it is with great sadness I write to you, as her husband and as her power of attorney, to report her health has continued to deteriorate, leaving her unable to pen this letter herself and forcing her to tender her resignation,” Willis Brown wrote.

School board member over district 2, Dadius Lanus says that he too will be praying for Brown and her family.

“You don’t want anybody to go through anything like this especially coming into the job. I know that this job is very high stress and I know the things that it can cause. I also, understand how hard, and she was ready to work for this district.” Brown did take a medical leave a few weeks ago.

This comes just weeks after Brown announced she was taking emergency medical leave. The school system did not specify the reason for her medical leave.

The school system released the following statement Wednesday:

"On behalf of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, please be aware that today, Leslie M. Brown announced that she will step down as EBRPSS Superintendent of Schools, effective Thursday, October 8, 2020.

We are deeply saddened by her departure, and our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Brown, her husband Bill and her children during these trying times. Ms. Brown has chosen not to disclose the nature of her illness, and we respect her right to privacy.

Although her time here was brief, her passion for education and students was evident in every decision she made. We have nothing but the deepest respect for Ms. Brown, and we are appreciative of her service to this community. While no longer an employee of this system, she will always be considered a member of this family. Our 5,000+ employees will continue along the path to excellence as one team with one mission.

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board will follow Louisiana state law and policies to appoint the next superintendent. The board is expected to consider agenda items related to this matter at the scheduled board meeting on Thursday, October 15. We will continue to communicate with families and staff as more information is made available."

Now, the school board must prepare for another superintendent search.

“This is not the time for us to hold onto any petty differences that we’ve had in the past. The public is looking for us to do what is best for our school district, but most importantly what is best for our students and that’s the only thing that I ask of all my board members at this time,” adds Lanus.

So far board members do not have anyone in mind for an interim superintendent, but they are hoping the process will be quicker than last time. School board members will meet regularly next Thursday to discuss the next steps moving forward.

Liz Smith, senior vice president of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC), says they’re saddened to hear about Brown and wish her the very best. Smith says BRAC is hopeful the board, in hiring the next superintendent, will “aim high again and recruit someone of the same caliber.”

Brown was selected to become the new superintendent by the school board back in August. She beat out finalist, Dr. Nakia Towns, for the job.

Brown announced her resignation today, and EBR School Board members were shocked by the announcement.

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