Despite the effort of concerned education advocates urging it to reopen the search and include more direct community involvement, the Orleans Parish School Board has announced that the final phase of the superintendent search process is underway, with three candidates moving forward and multiple public events scheduled next week.
The Board has named Marshall Tuck, Dr. Avis Williams, and Andre L. Wright as the top three candidates for the job and will host a special public meeting 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 29 and a community engagement session at 6:30 p.m. that same day at George Washington Carver High School with the three finalists.
A Look at the Finalists
Marshall Tuck is a former venture capitalist and politician who campaigned unsuccessfully in 2014 and 2018 for California Superintendent of Instruction. He served as an education advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, creating the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools with Tuck as CEO. In that role, he took over 10 of the city’s worst-performing schools. While one narrative tells of major improvements made at the schools managed by the Partnership, which now oversees 19 schools in Los Angeles, another is filled with complaints from parents angered by Tuck’s decision to remove a successful language immersion program from schools and from school faculty and staff critical of his leadership style. An overwhelming majority of educators at eight of the 10 schools managed by the partnership gave Tuck a vote of “no-confidence” during his tenure, according to multiple media reports. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that while academic performance had improved at the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, improvements were actually greater at Los Angeles Unified schools with similar demographics. Tuck earned a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in business administration. The extent of his education training appears to be taking part in the Broad Residency in Urban Education in 2006. He has also served as CEO of Green Dot Schools, a charter management operator.
Dr. Avis Williams currently serves as superintendent of Selma City Schools in Selma, Ala. and has served in leadership positions in the US Army, as an entrepreneur and as an education administrator, serving as an elementary, middle, and high school principal. She is certified to teach English, Physical Education and as a P-12 Principal and Superintendent. She earned her doctorate from the University of Alabama and is a graduate of the University of Alabama’s Superintendents Academy. She earned a doctorate in Administration & Instructional Leadership from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, administrative certification from Jacksonville State University, in Alabama, and her bachelor’s in education and her teaching certificate from Athens State College in Alabama
Andre L. Wright is senior vice president of Educational Transformation. Most recently, he served as Chief Academic Officer of Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Colo. A former Language Arts teacher, he also served as an assistant principal at schools in DeKalb County, Georgia, and as an area executive director for Fulton County Schools in Georgia. He has a master’s in educational leadership and a bachelor’s in business administration.
The School Board is expected to announce the final candidate at another special board meeting at 1 p.m. March 30.
All candidate interviews will be available via live stream on the district’s social media platforms.
For more information on the search process, visit nolasuperintendentsearch.com.
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