With the final day of qualifying for this fall’s St. Charles Parish School Board election ballot passing last Saturday, two new members were cemented as they and four returning board members will run unopposed, while two districts will be contested.
Destrehan’s Scott Cody will represent District 3 on the board while Norco’s Becky Weber will represent District 6, both newcomers who qualified without opposition for those spots. Cody will be taking the reins from Dennis Naquin, who previously represented District 3, while Weber steps in for the departing Jay Robichaux. Naquin and Robichaux each made the decision to step away and not run again after their respective long tenures with the board.
Ellis Alexander Sr. (District 1), John Smith (District 5), Arthur Aucoin (District 7) and Alex Suffrin (District 8) each will return to the board after qualifying with no opposition.
The School Board will see significant change, however, as District 2 and District 4 will see new members join the board as well after the upcoming election. Melinda Bernard (2) and Sonny Savoie (4) each decided against running, joining Robichaux and Naquin in ending notable tenures.
District 2 will see Robert Faucheux of Luling, Barbara Fuselier of Luling, Raymond Gregson of Luling and Precious Singleton-Alexander of Ama competing to represent the area.
For District 4, Karen Boudreaux and William Fahrig Jr., each of Des Allemands, will be in the running.
Cody said the St. Charles Parish school system was a key reason he and his family came to live in the parish in 2008. The Texas native and his wife have two daughters who will be attending parish schools, which was a motivator for him to run.
He said discussions with Naquin as the latter settled in on his decision to move on from the board was another.
“I got to know (him) well … he was a representative for more than 16 years, and I’ve always felt he did such a great job,” Cody said. “When he called me up and said he was going to step down and do some other things in his life, he asked if I had any interest in running … I prayed about it, talked to my wife who was really supportive and it kind of felt like the right thing.”
Cody has served as a substitute teacher, and during the COVID-19 pandemic he taught a Satellite Center broadcasting class virtually.
“I’ve never been a full-time teacher. I always say, those who have that set of skills, you’d like to empower them,” Cody said. “With both of my daughters in the school system, I want to make sure they and all of the students continue to have that opportunity to have a great educational experience … it’s really just about keeping this ship moving forward. This is, in my opinion, the best school district in the state, and there’s a huge responsibility to keep that momentum going.”
Weber is well-known in the education community. Now retired, she previously served as principal at Norco Elementary School, part of her 36-year career in education – all of that in St. Charles Parish. The Destrehan High alum is married to another former principal in Stephen Weber, who served in that role at Destrehan prior to his own retirement.
She said she had a desire to get back into education, and felt this was a good way to lend her experienced voice to the process.
“I knew Jay was probably not looking to do it anymore, and thought this was a good time,” Weber said. “We live in Norco. Our kids went to Norco Elementary, then Hurst, then Destrehan. I was both a teacher and administrator in the district, and I feel like I’m coming in with a lot of experience with the ins and outs of education.
“I want to continue supporting what our Superintendent has done in St. Charles Parish … coming out of a major pandemic, I feel Ken (Oertling) and the administrators have done a remarkable job getting everyone back on track. I want to help make sure we stay headed in the right direction, and make sure we do what’s best for these kids every day. That has to be the priority.”
She added she was floored by the support she received when she announced she was running.
“I put out these signs, and I was so humbled … so many people reached out and didn’t know I was running, and wanted signs. To learn I was that well-respected … I never thought that. I am really excited about all of it.”