Jane Holland Smith, a former state legislator and superintendent of the Bossier Parish School System, is the newest at-large member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE.
A long-time ally of Gov. Bobby Jindal, Smith was appointed to the board Friday to replace outgoing member Stephen Waguespack. Waguespack left the position in September to head the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, or LABI.
According to a release from Jindal's office, Smith will keep working as part-time legislative affairs liaison at the Department of Revenue while she serves as one of the three at-large members of BESE appointed by the governor.
The other eight members are elected to represent districts from across the state.
Smith is a native of Sabine Parish and was the first female member of the state Legislature from Bossier Parish, serving in the lower chamber for a dozen years. When she bumped up against term limits in 2011, Jindal encouraged her to run for the state Senate, where she lost to fellow Republican Barrow Peacock.
Jeff Thompson, who succeeded Smith in her Bossier City seat in the state House, said he was confident Smith would bring her unique experience both as an educator and a lawmaker to the board.
"She has a career in education and in sitting in the Legislature, and would have an opportunity to offer a unique perspective," Thompson said Friday. He said as a member of the House Committee on Education, he was looking forward to working with her in her new role.
Smith was a member of this same committee during her time in the Legislature, helping pass a law called the "Red Tape Reduction Act" that let local schools seek waivers from a range of state rules and regulations.