LIVINGSTON – Schoolchildren, schoolteachers, and school supporters will have to wait until Thursday to find out who will be the next superintendent for the Livingston Parish system.

After five interviews spanning almost 7 hours, the School Board, meeting as a committee of the whole, went into an executive session that lasted 40 minutes.

When the panel came back into regular session, no one offered a motion to recommend a replacement for retiring Superintendent Rick Wentzel.

The only motion made was to adjourn, which passed without comment.

The committee will now send its recommendation to the School Board for its scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, where the board will consider it.

The interview procedure allotted one hour for each candidate, with board President Buddy Mincey, reading from a list of prepared questions followed by questions by individual board members.

The candidates were allowed a 3-minute introduction statement and 5-minute closing statement.

Wentzel did not attend the interviews.

The candidates, and the order they appeared, were:

• C. Michael Robinson Jr., senior associate with BRP Associates, Jonesboro, Ga.

• Jody Purvis, supervisor of high school instruction with the Livingston Parish Public School System.

• Bruce Chaffin, supervisor of personnel the Livingston Parish Public School System.

• Elizabeth Duran Swinford, chief executive officer, PD Remix, Forest Hills, N.Y.

• Joe Murphy, assistant superintendent the Livingston Parish Public School System.

The size of the audience varied for each candidate, with the largest crowd of more than 50 people attending Murphy’s interview.  

While the answers – and the length of the answers – varied to some questions, the candidates had many similar replies:

• Money and funding are the main challenges facing education.

• A superintendent must communicate with parents, teachers, administrators, principals, support personnel and business leaders – any “stakeholders” in the education system or outcome of the system.

• Hiring and retaining teachers will require better salaries and letting them know they have the support of the Central Office.

• Technology is a part of children’s lives and must be part of their education. Professional development is needed so teachers will make the best use of it.

• The superintendent must support principals and how they run their schools.

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