In the search to replace former Superintendent Warren Drake, whose last day as head of the Zachary School System was Sept. 4, board members named the three Zachary candidates - Michelle Clayton, Scott Devillier and Patrick Jenkins - as the three finalists they would like to return for follow-up interviews.
The voting process was carried out in a special board meeting Oct. 4 where 'yes' or 'no' votes were read aloud as to which candidates board members would like back.
Initially, 11 applicants submitted their resumes for Drake's position, which he held for 10 years. Drake now works for State Superintendent John White at the La. Dept. of Education.
The three Zachary candidates - along with Alonzo Luce, St. James Parish Superintendent, and Philip Burchfield, Superintendent of Clinton, Miss. School System - were interviewed at length in an oral and written format Sept. 25-26.
Community stakeholders, steering committee members and Zachary School District personnel were invited to sit in on the process.
Prior to voting at Thursday night's meeting, board member Scott Swilley commented on the candidates. "All five candidates could lead this district," said Swilley. "All five could lead this district forward, and we appreciate all of them going through this interview process with us."
After tallying the votes from board members and projecting the results onto a screen for those attending the meeting, the results showed that all nine board members asked Devillier, currently Director of Operations for the Zachary school district, back for a second interview.
Board members Jannie Rogers, Boyce Smith, David Dayton, Hubie Owen, Gaynell Young and Kenneth Mackie all voted for Jenkins to return.
Jenkins is currently the principal at Port Hudson Career Academy, Zachary's alternative school.
Clayton, who was once the Director of Academic Accountability & Curriculum for the ZCSD, was asked back by Rogers, Smith, Young and Mackie.
Luce received votes from Donnie Dykes, Dayton and Swilley, while Burchfield received votes from Rogers and Samuel only.
Board Vice President Gaynell Young said the top three vote-getters will return for interviews on Tuesday, Oct. 16, beginning at 1 p.m.
Following the interviews, the Zachary community will be invited to meet and greet the candidates at the Zachary High School Academic/Athletic building from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
The final choice will be made at the Thursday, Oct. 25, school board meeting as to which candidate will be named Zachary's next superintendent.