10 candidates vying for Bossier Superintendent position

10 candidates vying for Bossier Superintendent position

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Bossier Parish Schools has received 10 applications for the Bossier Parish School Board Superintendent position.

Last month, current superintendent D.C. Machen announced he would retire at the end of the 2015-2016 school year.

Machen has served as Superintendent of Bossier Schools since July 1, 2009 and as an educator within the system for 42 years. His current Superintendent's contract was not set to expire until December 31, 2016.

Since his announcement, 10 applicants have submitted their resumes vying for the position.

All of the candidates appear to be from or spent most of their careers in education in Louisiana; mostly in Northwest Louisiana. However, one is from St. James Parish and another comes from Terrebone Parish.

Among those applying is Nichole Bourgeois who is the principal at Parkway High School. Bourgeois has held the position for the past 6 years, but not without controversy. Bourgeois has been named in lawsuits over student suicides, prompting a petition to have her terminated. She also came under fire for an incident on the football field in which she had an opposing coach hauled off in handcuffs. That resulted in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association banning Parkway from hosting a home playoff game that season and another related civil lawsuit.

Bourgeois was a biology teacher at Airline High School before becoming assistant principal at Parkway. She took the job as principal in 2010.

Bossier High School principal David Thrash has also turned in an application for the superintendent position. Before his current position, Thrash was principal at Haughton Middle School and assistant principal at Haughton High School. He also has teaching and coaching experience from Bienville and Bossier parishes.

Airline High School principal Jason Rowland has also applied for the superintendent job. Rowland was assistant principal at Benton and Airline before landing the top spot at Airline. He's also served on the Home School Athletic Association (HSAA) Executive Committee as 5A representative for North Louisiana since 2014. Rowland was at the center of an ACLU complaint in 2015 regarding the use of prayer boxes in the school. Rowland himself was accused of using the words, "May God Bless You All" in a message posted to the school's website.

Gisele Bryant, currently the Director of Special Education and Interim Director of Federal Programs in Bossier Parish, served as interim principal for a few months at Bossier High School 10 years ago. And at one point, she was assistant principal at Rusheon Middle School.

One of the few who isn't from Louisiana is Leland Hand. Hand is currently the superintendent at Cross Roads ISD in Henderson County, Texas. He was previously principal in Winona ISD and assistant superintendent before that at Warren ISD in Texas.

Mark Torbert, who has spent is entire career in Terrebonne Parish, is looking to make a move to the northwestern part of the state. Torbert is currently the principal at South Terrebonne High School.

Also from south Louisiana, is Alonzo "Lonnie" Luce. Luce is a superintendent in St. James Parish. He came from Greenville County, South Carolina before that, where he was a deputy superintendent for 3 years. Luce was also Chief Information Officer for New Orleans Public Schools at one time.

Long-time Bossier Schools employee, Sherri Pool, is also vying for the superintendent position. Right now, Pool is the Supervisor of Programs of Professional Evaluation and District Personnel Evaluation. Previously, she was principal at Curtis Elementary, assistant principal at Bellaire, plus has teaching experience at Apollo Elementary and Rusheon Middle School.

Scott Smith, who has served in Bossier Parish for more than a decade, is another candidate. Smith is the Assistant Superintendent for Bossier Parish Schools. He was formerly the assistant principal at Rusheon Middle School and Benton Middle School, where he also served 14 years a principal. Smith was among the final 3 candidates in 2009 for the superintendent's job, before D.C. Machen was selected to replace Ken Kruithof.

The final candidate is Victoria Miles, who submitted an extensive resume that includes work as a principal in North Kansas City School District, teaching in Louisiana and Chicago. She's currently the Director of Federal Programs for Keller ISD in Keller, Texas.

The Superintendent Search Committee is expected to make a decision at Thursday's School Board meeting on the schedule they will follow for interviews the week of April 25-29.

The Bossier Parish School Board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on April 21 at the Bossier Instructional Center which is located at 2719 Airline Dr.

At the meeting, there will be an opportunity for the public to submit questions for all Superintendent candidates, not specific applicants.

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