The St. Charles Parish School Board will be filled with two new faces soon when voters decide this week who will represent District 2 and District 4.
Earlier this fall two new members of the board were cemented in as they and four returning board members ran unopposed. Destrehan’s Scott Cody will represent District 3 on the board, while Norco’s Becky Weber will represent District 6. Both are 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. 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.
Faucheux said he has thought about running for 12 years, but that he made up my mind to run at his grandson’s ring night ceremony two years ago.
“I witnessed just how inappropriate that evening was and how far we have slipped into distasteful behavior disguised as a celebration,” he said. “I also began studying our school district’s equity policy. It is more hurtful to our school system than it is helpful. In addition to all of this, it’s time to answer the tough questions. Why is Louisiana at the bottom of the list in school rankings? Why is the average tenure of a teacher only five years? Why is there in increase in home schooling? Is ‘inclusion’ really good the entire classroom?”
Faucheux said there are several things that make him uniquely qualified to run.
“I am recently retired, which gives me the time and energy to devote to this position,” he said. “I am thoroughly familiar with our district’s 20 year strategic plan and will work tirelessly to achieve it’s goals. I think I may be the only candidate who had ‘town hall meetings’ over the summer with a number of our current and retired teachers. This gave them the opportunity to speak freely regarding the true issues facing our schools today.”
Faucheux said the biggest change he would like to bring back to the school district is discipline.
“And to take the burden off of our teachers to be social workers, emotional coaches and psychiatrists … thus allowing them to be what they choose to be – teachers,” he said.
Gregson said his personal interest in preserving and improving the quality of the school system led him to seek the District 2 seat.
“I am the father of three SCPPS students, and my wife is an educator at JB Martin Middle,” he said. “I want to be an advocate for the students of our parish. Our school system has a tradition of excellence. We have an opportunity to build and improve our district. I want our students and employees to come to school inspired every day.”
Gregson said he has a wide array of experience that uniquely qualifies him for the position.
“I’ve been a business owner, worked in the school services industry, served as a professional and college baseball umpire, and currently own a digital marketing firm,” he said. “I am a parent, which the St. Charles Parish School Board currently does not have on the board. As a digital marketing expert, I know the best communication best practices using modern communication platforms proactively. I know how to reach the right audience and which data points to use as metrics to get the most out of the communication efforts. Additionally, as an umpire, it is my job to uphold the integrity of the game. I must be trustworthy, impartial, dedicated, and have the highest integrity. I will bring these skills to my service on the St. Charles Parish School Board.”
Gregson said if elected he would strive to increase community involvement in the school system.
“Our schools are a source of pride for our community, and we need the people of our parish involved at every level,” he said. “We have many graduates of Hahnville and Destrehan living in our community. We need to have alumni associations that involve our former students. School involvement shouldn’t end when a person graduates. These schools are our schools. They belong to the community, and the community should feel a sense of involvement.”
Fuselier said she is running for the seat because she loves St. Charles Parish Public Schools and 0has the knowledge and experience to effectively move forward, not only the current initiatives of the board, but also those in the process of development and can help continue the forward momentum.
“I understand the Long Range Strategic Action Plan, will be highly effective in monitoring its implementation, and will fight for inclusive, best practices for all of our students and teachers,” she said. “My family has and continues to benefit from their education in St. Charles Parish Public Schools. Our son, Jarrett, our daughter-in-law, Tara Minnich Fuselier, and our granddaughter, Anna, are all graduates of Hahnville High School. I currently have one grandson in 10th grade at HHS and one granddaughter in 4th grade at Lakewood Elementary who are receiving a quality education and I want to be a part of moving the district forward.”
Fuselier said she has and wants to continue to be an advocate for teachers. She said she was recently told by teachers that they were excited to hear she was running because they would have a voice.
“The various positions I held during my 34 years of experience in St. Charles Parish has made me uniquely qualified to serve on the board,” she said. “As the principal of Hahnville High School, I managed a district and school budget in addition to $500,000 in grant money, hired and supervised 120 plus staff members, reviewed and determined curriculum and student discipline practices, and supervised 1,400 students, 30 clubs and sports. In addition, my positions at Central Office included co-managing a 15MM technology and staff development budget.”
Fuselier said the biggest change she would hope to bring to the district would be to work closely with Central Office Staff and other board members to determine the feasibility of pre-K for all students because of the impact it has with increasing literacy and reducing drop outs and incarcerations.
“In addition, continuing to explore ways to hire and retain teachers through additional pay raises, reduction in redundant paperwork and reviewing curriculum, with teacher input, would be paramount,” she said.
Alexander said her children, the students, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and the entire Saint Charles Parish community are her reasons to run for the District 2 seat.
“I am the mother of two current SCPPS students, soon to be three,” she said. “However I am claimed by several SCPPS students as their non-biological mother, which is a huge privilege and honor to be admired as. My family highly recommended me to run for this position; more so my husband, mom and daughter because they see first-hand the assets I would bring to the school board. I am one who truly values education, the well-being of others and one who has always possessed a strong passion for helping and servicing others.”
“It is my absolute duty as a parent, educator, and advocate to make sure that our children who we are molding to lead the future have the necessary resources, support and tools they need to successfully thrive in life now and for the future,” she said. “Therefore, running to represent SCP School Board District 2 seat was imperative for me, but most importantly for our children, our community, and our future.”
Alexander said she is proud to be a product of SCPPS.
“I am also the youngest of the three candidates running for this seat, so I feel that I am more qualified to bring youth and longevity … powerful energy, with a strong and positive personality to the table,” she said. “I am a candidate you can believe in, a leader by nature, a woman of integrity who’s committed, dependable, trust worthy and passionately dedicated for the position.”
Alexander said she is uniquely qualified to serve in the school board seat because she is no stranger to serving the community.
“I was a former St. Charles Parish recreation department coach of basketball and softball for six years,” she said. “I am the founder of two local support groups for young girls and mothers of children with autism.”
She added that she is also a board member for Bayouland Families Helping Families, PTO President at RK Smith Middle School and PTO member at Luling Elementary.
“Not only am I a parent of a student who receives a standard education, but I am also the parent of a special needs student, so I can relate to parents of both spectrums,” she said. “I am the future, and my unique personality and spirit would be an asset to the board.”
Boudreaux, a contender for the District 4 seat, said her decision to run for the board came after a year of careful consideration and a conversation with the then current representative of her district.
“When discussing the true role and responsibilities of the position, it confirmed that my education, experience, community service, and current involvement as a parent in the school system would be an asset to the board,” Boudreaux said. “I believe my military service, community service, and continued education make me uniquely qualified for this seat. As a veteran, I understand following the chain of command that is necessary to honor and respect the teachers and the administration. Having an MBA, I can also navigate the business side of our school system, to include the budget. My current degree program in counseling will be an asset to effective communication with the other board members, parents, staff, stakeholders, and the kids.”
She added that it is important to acknowledge that SCPPS continues to operate and achieve at high levels.
“While I would be serving as one of eight board members, I will advocate for fair accountability, safe and secure campuses, high-quality teaching and learning, social and emotional wellness, special needs advancements, and fiscal responsibility,” she said.
Fahrig, the other District 4 contender, said he has been wanting to run for a public office for the past decade.
“My belief is if you want to see things happen, be a part of the reason they do,” he said. “I was contacted by a concerned citizen asking me to run for this position, so I prayed about it and asked others what they thought of me running. I received more encouragement, so here we are.”
Fahrig said as a father, grandfather, and uncle to students in the school system he can and will be proactive instead of reactive to issues regarding the students of his district.
“I don’t feel that being an elected official puts me in a position to tell people what’s best for them or their family, but to speak for them,” he said. “I want to see parents and students get more involved with the schools so we can best serve the students.”
If elected, Fahrig said the biggest thing he’d like to change is to secure funding for after-care programs for students in second to eighth grade.
“Many families have both parents working and can’t afford after care,” he said. “Not only that, but students may need that extra tutor time with homework. I’ve seen firsthand both parents and students get frustrated and just give up because neither understood the problem. I firmly believe that a said program would boost test scores as well a morale for everyone.”
For more information on how, when and where to vote in Tuesday’s election, visit www.stcharlesparish.gov/government/governmental-agencies-and-officials/registrar-of-voters.