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Lycée CEO choice signs contract and will begin work immediately

Following a months-long search, Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans has hired Keith Bartlett as the charter school’s chief executive officer.

Keith Bartlett

Marta Jewson/The Lens

Keith Bartlett

At a special board meeting Thursday the board voted to offer Bartlett the job after interviewing him in a closed session. Members Erin Greenwald and Jean Montes were charged with negotiating his contract, and with a looming June 30 deadline, the two wasted no time.

“It is my great pleasure to announce that Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle-Orleans has a new CEO/Principal,” Greenwald said in an email Saturday.

She said Bartlett had signed his contract that day and would begin working Monday, which is also the first day of the school’s fiscal year.

The embattled charter school has been searching for a CEO since November, when then-CEO Jean-Jacques Grandiere resigned, temporarily leaving the school without a leader. Shortly after his resignation Gisele Schexnider was hired as academic director and has since served as the school’s interim CEO.

Bartlett will earn a salary of $90,000 to lead the French curriculum charter school through the 2013-2014 school year, according to his contract provided to The Lens Saturday.

Bartlett’s contract also indicates he may “spend up to ten work days consulting with the Louisiana A+ Schools Foundation”, which are to be considered “consulting days”. When Bartlett applied for the position he was mentoring principals for the foundation.

Bartlett previously served as principal at Alice Boucher World Languages Academy in Lafayette, something committee members said ultimately convinced them that Bartlett was the man for the job.

Parents who attended Bartlett’s second interview with the CEO search committee jokingly referred to him as the “school whisperer.”

“It appears he’s contacted quite frequently to turn schools around and that’s quite impressive to us,” parent Niki Rachal told the committee.

Parents also seemed pleased after Thursday’s meeting, when all that was left to do was sign the contract.

“We’re looking forward to a great new year with a great new leader,” Rachal said Thursday.

Lens contributor Della Hasselle contributed to this report.

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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.

  • nickelndime

    Why does Niki Rachal have the same surname as the attorney who is representing…whom? OMG! Let’s see what this looks like one year from now. But for now, Bartlett has hit the New Orleans charter school lottery, which looks like $90,000. LOL and rolling on the floor – Yes Michael – I am out of the chair and rolling on the floor! Please tell me what tree and what car the next meeting will convene. Thanks.

  • AmyGeorge

    Oh, my dear nickelndime, did you not know that Mr. Rachal has a grandson at the school? I, for one, am very happy that we’ve had his help in navigating what is, for many parents truly unknown territory. You see, many of us had paid no attention to the Grand Louisiana Charter School Experiment until our kids were thrown in to it. Rest assured, we will be watching closely for the next year and we are all rooting for Mr. Bartlett. I hope you’ll join us in wishing good thoughts for this and all the charter schools in Louisiana. Thanks for always keeping an eye out!

  • nickelndime

    Yes, AmyGeorge! That’s what I am really looking for – for stakeholders to pay attention – pay close attention, and act accordingly (when and if necessary) to what is going on in these charter schools – from legal fees on down and up and any which way. For you see, in my humble opinion, there is a lot of money that is being wasted in education, when most of the money should be spent on students and those good souls (classroom teachers) who educate/work directly with the students (your/our children). Far too much is being wasted on legal fees (Adam and Reese LLP is one of them, but there are more), administrative, and out-of-classroom costs, etc. If you or I wanted that, or if the rest of Louisiana wanted that, then there would have been no need to “buck the system.” Best of luck, my dear. I see that you are paying attention.

  • Cruzer

    Is this open position being advertised here ( that of the current Academics Director who is filling in as the Principal and is currently out of the country?  He just started on Monday, fired somebody he’s never met on Tuesday, and posted her job on Wednesday? 

  • Joy Van Buskirk

    Cruzer – there is history there, and you might not be privy to it. If the position has become available, it is because the individual who had been hired as the Academic Director was not qualified. The school cannot become accredited without a qualified person filling that position. If the school wants to offer a French Bacc, in the future, the school must be accredited by the French Government.

  • AmyGeorge

    Cruzer–it’s not uncommon for a current employee to be asked to re-apply for their job when a new supervisor takes charge. We’ll see what happens.

  • AmyGeorge

    Absolutely, nickelndime. How does the bumper sticker go: “It will be a great day when the military has to host a bake sale to pay for a fighter jet”? In the meantime: do you have any books you would like to donate for the Lycee Francais library? There’s no money in our budget for a librarian, as you can imagine. Maybe next year! 🙂

  • Ispy

    Sounds like you have some inside information on this, AG. Cruzer, you are right to smell a rat here.

  • AmyGeorge

    I’ve seen houses cleaned before, Ispy.

  • Ispy

    If you call intimidation & manipulation “cleaning house,” then yes, indeed, you are familiar with this, AG.