Two-year search may be ending for new Orleans Parish schools superintendent

The Orleans Parish School Board appears poised to hire a new superintendent at its meeting Tuesday.

The board invited candidates Debbra Lindo, Katrise Perera, and Henderson Lewis for a second interview this week after an initial round of interviews last week.

The very last items on Tuesday’s agenda includes a scheduled executive session to discuss the candidates and an action item described as “Election of superintendent for the Orleans Parish School Board.”

The description states the board will consider Lindo, Perera and Lewis. Lindo was most recently superintendent for the Emery Unified School District in California and announced her retirement last fall. Perera serves as superintendent of Isle of Wight County Schools in Virginia.

Lewis is the superintendent of the East Feliciana Parish School District and a member of the St. Bernard Parish School Board. He has also held leadership positions in the Algiers Charter Schools Association.

Interim Superintendent Stan Smith has led the district for more than two years, an unusually long tenure for an interim. That fact has been cited as a marker of instability for the parish-run district, also known for having a fractious board.

The lack of a permanent superintendent was repeatedly cited as a reason to avoid the district by academically eligible Recovery School District charter school boards as they considered whether to return to the auspices of the School Board this fall. Only one board has decided to return so far.

The School Board meets at 5 p.m. Tuesday at McDonogh No. 35 High School at 1331 Kerlerec St.

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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

    These three candidates happen to be at the right place at the right juncture. OPSB has reached the point of diminishing returns. It didn’t accomplish anything WITHOUT an academic superintendent and it won’t accomplish anything WITH an academic superintendent. The election of a superintendent by the OPSB will serve as a place holder signifying that the position is “elected” and elected by the local school board. This is the only thing that will be gained by this move, and maybe that’s what Usdin needs to understand. One thing is certain. Whichever candidate is elected will be solidified into the position, because if it goes “south,” they (the OPSB) will not be able to get a super majority of “five” to fire. Stanley C. Smith and Kathleen Padian are prime examples of this reality, and both of them can thank Sarah Usdin and her voting bloc for keeping them employed well past their “shelf life.” 12/15/2014 6:13 PM

  • nickelndime

    Lewis is “local”; Lindo is “female.” I’ve got it! By George, I think I’ve got it. Do what the RSD does! It does it all the time in the “charter world” !!! Put two people in the same position and call them “CO-” with a hyphen. Co-this and Co-that…No silly – they each get a 6-figure salary! What one lacks, the other has. 12/16/2014 9:16 PM

  • nickelndime

    Lewis has stayed “local.” He gets points for that. He travels 100 miles to get to work. He is either a “Road Warrior” or “Road Weary.” 12/16/2014 9:23 PM