The committee charged with recommending a chief executive officer for Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans recommended a candidate Thursday morning for the charter school’s top spot—and they want him to start Monday.

Tonight, Lycée’s full board will interview Keith Bartlett behind closed doors, and with board approval the school may finally have the leader it’s been searching for.

Bartlett formerly served as principal of John Dibert School, and later held the post at Alice Boucher World Languages Academy.  He now mentors principals through Louisiana A+ Schools.

The search committee met in executive session Thursday morning to discuss the merits of Bartlett and Joseph Daschbach, both of whom had been interviewed twice.

“We had a lot to talk about and a very difficult decision,”  Erin Greenwald said when members emerged from the 50-minute session.

Member Elizabeth Rhodes’ motion revealed it was Bartlett the committee wanted to move forward with. Members then publicly discussed how they had come to their decision.

They lauded Bartett’s experience — noting his work in school-turnaround situations and prior experience at an immersion school.

“He has bridged those cultural divides that inherently exist when you’re dealing with multiple cultures,” Greenwald said .

“We all viewed this as a win-win situation because we felt both candidates were so exceptional,” said member Alysson Mills.

Parents may have felt in a familiar spot Thursday morning, having passed a leader through the search committee. But five weeks ago, lone candidate Mireille Rabate turned down the board’s offer for the chief spot, calling it “one of the most difficult decisions” she’s ever had to make.

With that in mind, parents asked point blank if Bartlett wanted the job.

“Both candidates want the job,” Greenwald said.

“We have had that discussion to make sure we’re not going to have a disappointment,” she said.

Parents also asked if members anticipated any reservations from the board, but Greenwald said she could not speak on behalf of the full board.

“All four of us were impressed,” she said.

Having met their goal of recommending a candidate for the interim spot by June 30 the decision now rests with the board, which will meet at 6:30 p.m. today at the school. Should the board recommend Bartlett, it would begin negotiating immediately, Greenwald said.

“We’re hoping for him to start on Monday.”

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...