With two St. Charles Parish School Board races on the Nov. 6 ballot, the four candidates seeking those seats are focusing on experience, accomplishments and top goals for the school system.
District 2 incumbent Melinda Bernard is facing Barbara Fuselier. Both are Republicans and both live in Luling.
Bernard emphasized “experience matters,” and particularly with the board’s responsibility to hire the most qualified and effective superintendent for the school system.
“Teachers know I am an advocate for them and I appreciate the tremendous effort they make daily on behalf of their students,” Bernard said. “I listen. I understand and I meet at least once a month with our assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction to discuss strategies to address teacher concerns. Changes may not occur as immediately as teachers would like, but progress has definitely been made in a number of areas.”
She added,“It is, after all, our core business. My background as a teacher and administrator for 25 years in our system has been a great asset to me in this position.”
Barbara Fuselier said as a board member she would strive to make “the best better for students and teachers,” as well as being fiscally responsible and data driven.
“In addition, I will work tirelessly to help determine if there are affordable programs and/or practices that will help improve the school district including curriculum, safety, teacher recruitment, salaries, and a pre-k program for all students,” she said.
Fuselier brings 34 years of experience to the position, including 30 years at Hahnville High School from teacher-sponsor (founded the Hi-Steppers), assistant principal to principal (retired in the position), as well as four years at the system’s Central Office in supervisory positions implementing programs related to School-to-Career, staff development and technology, which represented a $15 million budget.
In District 4, incumbent Clarence “Sonny” Savoie, a Democra, is facing Nicole Dufrene, a Republican. Both are residents of Paradis.
Savoie also emphasized his experience qualifies him to hire the next superintendent.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been a passionate and dedicated public servant that has been recognized on a state and national level as leader that advocates for children,” Savoie said. “As an ambassador for our school system, my leadership skills and knowledge gained have allowed me to serve on many nonprofit educational boards and become president of the National Schools Boards Association, which is comprised of over 90,000 school board members from across the country and 50 million public school children,” he said.
Savoie said his leadership in working with the board and state Legislature helped the parish avoid losing more then $185 million in state education revenue.
Nicole Dufrene said she’s running for school board as a parent with a student in the school system and as a taxpayer.
“I am running for St. Charles Parish School Board District 4 seat because I believe in the St. Charles Parish Education System and I want to enhance the work that has already been done to support our children and families,” Dufrene said.
She added, “I’m the next generation that will work for the families, school and advocate for our children by implementing your ideas current to keep pushing forward as a successful school district.”
Dufrene said she believes in conservative spending and wants to offer strategies for improvement. She also wants to further analyze the budget for competitive salaries for all employees and continue professional development training.
Below are the candidates’ positions on experience and issues with the school system: