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After failed attempt to hire CEO, Lycée committee recommends hiring another interim

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans’ chief executive officer search committee has recommended the embattled charter school’s board hire an interim CEO for the coming year, a white flag of sorts in the school’s aggressive hunt to install a permanent leader this summer.

Committee chair Erin Greenwald said it was too late in the academic year to focus on finding a permanent CEO for the 340-student French curriculum school.

“It’s not something that’s done in the summer,” said Greenwald, “to be honest that may make it look a little desperate.”

The school’s top pick for the permanent job declined the offer last month.

Greenwald said an interim job with an unknown end date would not be an ideal position either, and advocated for a year-long interim chief.

Greenwald was joined by newly appointed board members Elizabeth Rhodes, Tim Gray and Alysson Mills as well as original committee member Carol Asher.

The committee spoke openly for about 10 minutes before entering the closed-door session. Interim CEO Gisele Schexnider joined the committee behind closed doors, as well as attorney Lee Reid. Schexnider left after about 30 minutes and the session lasted approximately 20 more minutes.

“Gisele came in and talked to us about some of the pressing needs at the school right now,” said Greenwald.

When the committee reconvened, the five unanimously recommended that the board search for a year-long interim CEO before resuming the search for a permanent leader.

They recommended Marina Schoen, Joe Daschbach, Keith Bartlett and Ghislaine Bazir be interviewed for the interim position and proposed a timeline for their work. The four were among nine people whose names were listed on Tuesday’s agenda as being people the committee might want to consider as CEO candidates.

Tim Gray outlined the committee’s proposed timeline:

  • Accept resumes for interim CEO position from June 10 through June 14.

  • Hold preliminary interviews with candidates between June 11 through June 15.

  • Identify all candidates by June 18.

  • Complete interviews by June 22.

The recommendations will go before the board on June 10. If the plan is approved, the committee will interview candidates the following week.

The committee empowered Greenwald to draft the plan, which is to be distributed to the board prior to Monday’s meeting.

A few parents questioned why the searches couldn’t be completed simultaneously.

Greenwald reiterated that the school was unlikely to find a permanent CEO after school leaders had already signed contracts for next year.

Parents also asked what the different qualifications would be in a permanent CEO and interim chief.

Greenwald said the interim CEO would be running a kindergarten through third-grade school, which is the immediate need. But over the long-term, the school needs someone who can help expand the school to include a senior high; that’s what a permanent CEO can do. She also stressed that the school needs a leader in the coming year, but a year-long search would allow the school to find one who was also was familiar with the French curriculum.

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About Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned to New Orleans in the fall of 2014 after covering education for the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in journalism and social welfare and a concentration in educational policy studies.

  • frenchfriend

    Seems like there are finally some adults in the room. Bravo.

  • nickelndime

    “The committee spoke openly for about 10 minutes before entering the closed-door session. Interim CEO Gisele Schexnider joined the committee behind closed doors, as well as attorney Lee Reid. Schexnider left after about 30 minutes and the session lasted approximately 20 more minutes.” If anybody does not see anything wrong here, then please bring the elephants in, cuz the circus is a-bout to begin. Peanuts – peanuts!

  • Josh Reyher

    As the acting interim CEO it would be appropriate for Madame Schexnider to give her perspective on the position. Lycee needs both a Principal (CEO) and an academic director. I bet we could agree on that. Look at the positives of the meeting; not pushing to settle for an imperfect CEO, put in place successful leadership team to guide the school next year, execute a nationwide search for the perfect CEO. It was discussed, I believe, at the February board meeting there a season of recruitment in the spring of every year. The window has closed. I wish we could have hired a permanent CEO, but we didn’t find the right candidate. I am confident we will have another strong academic year. I am confident that it won’t be as turbulent as this past year has been. Based on that, I am confident the school will find a permanent CEO.

  • frenchfriend

    Josh , Gisele , and I refuse to call her Madame, is the permanent academic director of our school and only the interim CEO.

  • frenchfriend

    This is sad but true.

  • nickelndime

    When the “right” (appropriate, qualified, experienced, etc.) CEO applicants (and I believe you almost had one) say this school setting is “NOT right” for them, then something is wrong. I, too, believe that this school will continue its upward academic climb and momentum, but not because the right administrators or board members or attorneys are in place. It’s the students, the families, and the teachers.