The West Baton Rouge Parish school district’s superintendent search began with eight applicants and it ended with a new superintendent Thursday night.
The WBR school board voted 7-3 to elect Chandler Smith as the West Baton Rouge Parish School District’s superintendent at Thursday’s special meeting.
Smith and Troy Bell were the two finalists for the position.
Smith is the assistant superintendent and chief academic officer for Central Community Schools. Bell is the executive director of federal programs and academics for the Franklin Parish School District.
“I’m excited to get to work with the great people of West Baton Rouge,” Smith said after the meeting. “I have a lot of ideas. I want to listen to a lot of ideas and build relationships and I’m just excited to work with such an amazing board.”
Board members Burke Fiscus, Hayley Clouatre, Alden Chustz, Chareeka Grace, Matthew Daigrepont, Ronald Leblanc, and Teri Bergeron voted for Smith.
Dr. Atley Walker, Sonceria Evans, and Michael Maranto voted for Bell.
“Gentlemen, this was the most difficult decision I’ve made in quite a long time,” Leblanc said to the candidates before the votes were tallied. “It’s pretty obvious since you both are here, you really want this job badly. It’s gut-wrenching because y’all are both quality people. Ya’ll are two of the best in the state as far as I’m concerned.”
Wes Watts retired from his position as superintendent in July 2022. David Corona has served as the interim superintendent since. Corona was superintendent of WBR schools for 10 years before he retired in 2014.
“I’m thrilled,” Smith said. “I’m very committed to this district and I’m looking forward to a long time together and a great relationship.”