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Friday, 02 December 2011 13:00
Louisiana Gov. Jindal Announces 3 To BESE
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jindal-differenceToday, Governor Bobby Jindal announced reappointments to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), including John L. Bennett of Port Allen, Connie Bradford of Ruston, and Penny Dastugue of Mandeville.


Governor Jindal said, “We’re excited that Penny, Connie and John will continue to serve on BESE. They are leaders on education reform. Over the past few years, they’ve supported a bold agenda to improve Louisiana’s education system, including letter grades for schools and a new teacher evaluation law. They know that in order to provide our students with a high quality education, we need to build on our past reforms and provide more choices for parents of kids trapped in failing schools, reward excellent teachers and support poor performing teachers who want to improve, and give school districts more flexibility to spend dollars effectively. Our kids only grow up once, and I know that Penny, Connie and John refuse to sit back and let another generation of kids drift through a failing school system. The bottom line is these folks know the status quo is unacceptable, and they are ready to get to work right away with our new reform team on BESE to improve the education system for our kids.”


According to statute, the board shall be composed of eleven members.  One member shall be a resident of and shall be elected by the electors of each of the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education districts.  Three members shall be appointed by the Governor from the state at large, with consent of the Senate.


Reappointments to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education:


John L. Bennett, of Port Allen, has served as the principal of St. Aloysius School since 1985. He previously served as the assistant principal of instruction at Port Allen Middle School from 1980 to 1985, and previously worked as a teacher at Port Allen High School from 1977 to 1980. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed professional counselor. Bennett is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the National Middle School Association, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the National Catholic Education Association. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education from LSU, an education specialist degree from LSU, and a master’s in pastoral studies from Loyola University. Bennett will be reappointed to serve on BESE as an at-large member, as required by statute.


Connie Bradford, of Ruston, formerly served as the Head of School at Cedar Creek School in Ruston.  As Head of School, she was responsible for implementing curriculum and instruction for students, and overseeing professional development of the school’s faculty and staff. Bradford has held previous roles at Cedar Creek School including the Assistant Principal of Academic Affairs, Jr. High Coordinator and Director of Admissions, and worked as a teacher. Before serving at Cedar Creek School, Bradford held posts at False River Academy and The Chapel Trafton School. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction/Educational Leadership from Louisiana Tech University. Bradford also has her Principal's Certification from the Louisiana Department of Education. Bradford will be reappointed to serve on BESE as an at-large member, as required by statute.


Penny Dastugue, of Mandeville, was first elected to BESE in November 2003, and then appointed by Governor Jindal in March 2008. Dastugue currently serves as the President of BESE, Chair of Student Based Budgeting Task Force, Chair of Virtual Education Study Group, and a member of the Governor's Commission on Marriage and Family.  Dastugue has represented BESE on the School and District Accountability Commission, the MFP Governmental Liaison Committee, and the School Finance Review Commission.  She was also recently asked to serve on the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) Legislative Advocacy Committee and has also served on the board of the School Leadership Center.  Dastugue serves as Chair of the Finance/Audit Review Committee, and is a member of the State Authorized School Oversight Committee.  She is a graduate of Tulane University with a B.S. in Management and Finance. Dastugue will be reappointed to serve on BESE as an at-large member, as required by statute. 

(Jindal Admin. Press release)

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