Courtesy of EBR Schools

Adam Smith officially named interim superintendent of EBR schools

EBR Superintendent Adam Smith
EBR Interim Superintendent Adam Smith (Courtesy of EBR Schools)

BATON ROUGE — Adam Smith officially took over as the East Baton Rouge Parish superintendent Tuesday night after a special meeting.

The board voted 8-0 to give Smith the interim superintendent position, something he can only hold for up to six months.

The interim position is a job that Smith is familiar with. He served as interim EBR superintendent three years ago before the board voted 5-4 to choose Narcisse over him for the permanent position.

Three current board members, Mark Bellue, Dadrius Lanus, and Michael Gaudet, were on the board at that time. All three voted for Narcisse.

There were a plethora of speakers who showed support for Smith on Tuesday. Initially, there was language in the interim superintendent’s contract that would prevent Smith from applying for the permanent job. Lanus made a substitute motion to remove that language, and it passed.

The speakers called for Smith to dodge the interim tag and be appointed to the permanent position Tuesday night. However, board attorney Gwynn Shamlin said that can’t happen because state law requires school boards to advertise in the official journal for at least 30 days. If the board wanted to, it could vote to appoint Smith on the 31st day.

Smith said he would serve the district to the best of his ability no matter what position he held. He said he “isn’t going anywhere.”

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“I’m honored by the trust you have placed in me during this transitional period,” he said. “I’m committed to serving our district with dedication and integrity. As we say in the field of education, we have to close learning gaps. I believe that with your vote tonight, we’re going to close the relationship gap.”

Narcisse announced that he was stepping down as superintendent on Friday. He wasn’t present at Tuesday’s meeting.

The board voted 6-2 to accept Narcisse’s resignation. Shashonnie Steward and Lanus voted against it, and Gaudet abstained.

Narcisse negotiated a voluntary buyout last week. The severance pays him for the rest of the time remaining on his contract, which is a little over five months.

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Smith said when board leaders approached him to serve as interim EBR superintendent, he told them he did not plan to apply for the job.

That didn’t stop supporters from clamoring to have the clause removed so he could have an opportunity to have the permanent job.

“I’m really honest, Mr. Smith should have had the job three years ago,” said Valencia Johnson, president of the East Baton Rouge Parish Association of Educators. “Adam Smith is homegrown. He’s been through the ranks. He understands every aspect of the job. And every time that you call on him, he responds anywhere you put him. He is saving the day, every day, every time.”

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