Members go outside system
Members of the Webster Parish School Board elected to go outside the parish Tuesday and bring in a fresh perspective to lead the system.
Steven Dozier, superintendent of schools in Union Parish, was selected as the new superintendent locally with a majority vote of eight to four.
We have received many comments from the community," board president Johnnye Kennon said. "Many asked us to bring in someone new and others asked us to continue with people who are currently in our system.
"We were very lucky to have several qualified applicants; I feel any of them would have performed wonderfully," Kennon continued. "However, Mr. Dozier has 35 years of successful experience as a superintendent and in other various positions. I feel like that had more bearing on why he was selected."
Kennon said she was proud of the transparent process used to select a new superintendent.
"We cooperated to form a timeline that involved public opinion and input," she said. "We have had many changes in the past five months and I think we are all ready to establish a routine and elevate our system to the point where parents want to send their children to Webster Parish schools."
Dozier thanked board for the opportunity and named two goals he had as superintendent.
"I can assure you and the parents and teachers that I will work my very hardest for you and for our kids," he said. "We have a good task in front of us and that is making sure that education continues to be rock-solid and ensuring kids get a quality education and getting our system on sound financial footing.
"I am very excited and need to call my wife and let her know," he continued. "There were some very fine candidates; Mr. (Morris) Busby and Mrs. (Jackie) Sharp are excellent, as are many others in this parish. You have fine teachers and administrators and I look forward to working with them."
Board members voted as follows:
Ronnie Broughton: Dozier
Brandon Edens: Dozier
Ouida Garner: Dozier
Robert Holloway: Sharp
Johnnye Kennon: Dozier
Linda Kinsey: Dozier
Penny Long: Dozier
Jerry Lott: Sharp
Frankie Mitchell: Dozier
Malicai Ridgell: Dozier
Charles Strong: Sharp
Bruce Williams: Sharp
Sharp, who received the remaining four votes, holds the position of assistant superintendent and had been serving as interim superintendent in addition to her regular responsibilities.
Busby, the Secondary Supervisor for Webster Parish schools, was a contender for the position Monday but did not receive any votes Tuesday.
David Phillips and Kevin Washington did not receive enough votes Monday night to make it to the top three.
Kennon opened the board to public comment before the voting began. Two people spoke before the board, urging them to make the "right" choice.
"I ask you to vote the right way, even if it is not the popular thing to do," James Madden said. "I can't say I know for sure what the right choice is, but I do know the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Michelle Finley had a different message for the board after Madden spoke.
"As an educator who is in all 15 schools in Webster Parish, I assure you morale has never been higher among teachers and at the schools," she said. "The difference between hot water and boiling water is one degree and that one degree can make a big difference. Boiling water produces steam and steam can power a train. We are full steam ahead right now and I ask that you do not derail this train tonight."쇓