May 10, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La.  - Today, Recovery School District (RSD) Superintendent Patrick Dobard announced the selection of four new principals who will lead schools in the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone for the 2012-2013 school year, along with the appointments of two RSD-LA staff members.  

"I am excited about these announcements and the opportunity to welcome these strong leaders to the Recovery School District and Baton Rouge Achievement Zone," said Dobard. "These principals meet the rigorous expectations that I believe are needed to help transform schools. Additionally they have strong leadership and communications skills that are necessary to move the Achievement Zone forward, along with a deep passion for education and commitment to children."

The schools recently announced as part of the Achievement Zone are Istrouma High School, Capitol High School, Glen Oaks Middle School, Prescott Middle, Dalton Elementary School and Lanier Elementary School.

The newly appointed principals are:

Alicia Franklin, Lanier Elementary School - Franklin has twelve years of experience and knowledge of the K-12 educational environment.  She has served as a classroom teacher, a math interventionist, an assistant principal and an assistant director.  Franklin earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southern University and A&M College.  She also holds a master’s degree in administration and supervision as well as a master’s plus 30 in child welfare and attendance and technology facilitation.  She is currently seeking certification in School Counseling from Northwestern State University. 

Staughton Jennings, Ed.D., Glen Oaks Middle School - Jennings has worked in education for more than 20 years as a science teacher, assistant principal and principal.  As a school leader in primarily the Atlanta, Ga. area, Jennings created after-school tutoring, Saturday re-teaching and college prep programs designed to support students who did not meet the academic standards for high stakes testing in the State of Georgia. 

Marilyn Taylor, Dalton Elementary School - Taylor previously served as the principal of Rosenwald Elementary School in New Roads. She began her career as an elementary school teacher and middle school administrative assistant with the Orleans Parish School System. She has also worked as a central office coordinator/director, middle school assistant principal, and high school assistant principal with the Fulton County School System in Atlanta, Ga. Taylor is currently completing work towards her doctorate. She holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of New Orleans, and a specialist degree plus 30 hours from NOVA Southeastern University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Southern University and A&M College.

Robert Webb, Istrouma High School - Webb has served in numerous administrative positions ranging from elementary to high school. During his career, he has served as an assistant principal in elementary, middle, and high school settings. He has also served as a high school principal, as well as a director at a charter school. Webb attended Southern University and A&M College, where he received a master’s degree plus 30 in administration and supervision, a master’s degree in education, and a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology.

Onetha Albert, Capitol High School - Albert will continue in her position as principal of Capitol High School. Albert, a veteran educator, was named principal of the school last summer. Albert previously served as the principal of Scotlandville Middle Pre-Engineering Magnet School for four years. Prior to that position, she worked in Lafayette as the assistant principal of Northside High School. Albert holds a master’s degree in educational leadership and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Southern University and A&M College.

Maria DeLouise, Prescott Middle School - Maria DeLouise will continue in her position as principal of Prescott Middle School. DeLouise is an experienced instructional leader with more than 30 years of experience. In addition to administrative positions, she has also spent time as an elementary, middle school and high school classroom teacher, as well as a college adjunct instructor. DeLouise has completed her coursework at Louisiana State University (LSU) for her doctorate in educational technology. She holds a master’s degree in school administration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master’s plus 30 from LSU and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from LSU.

Teacher Incentives Package

Achievement Zone principals are eager to begin working at their new schools. The newly appointed leaders will start building their leadership teams and filling available teaching positions for the 2012-2013 school year immediately.

The RSD is committed to offering Achievement Zone teachers a compensation package five percent above that offered by the local parish/district school.  The RSD has undertaken a process to re-prioritize existing funding to make this financial incentive possible. High-quality teaching is the key lever to academic success for students, and the District is dedicated to ensuring these schools can attract and retain only the best teachers. 

"The key to successful schools is not only in having great leaders at the helm, but in also having the best teachers available in the classrooms. Teachers are the frontline to academic achievement. We are pleased that we could offer this incentive package to attract the best teachers to our Achievement Zone schools," said Supt. Dobard.

A Teacher Recruitment Fair will be held on Saturday, May 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, 5550 Florida Blvd.

Dobard Appoints RSD-LA Chief of Staff and Executive Director

In addition to the school leaders, Dobard also announced the appointment of Nikki Diamantes as the RSD-LA Chief of Staff and Veronica Howard Sizer as Executive Director of External Affairs.

"We are bringing together a dynamic administrative team to lead operations in the Baton Rouge area and throughout the rest of the state," said Dobard. "We have an energetic team that is ready to step up and help change the lives of children."  

Nikki Diamantes began her career as a political appointee for Governor Michael O. Leavitt of Utah, where she worked as a budget and policy advisor for the Department of Natural Resources and the Utah State Department of Agriculture. Prior to joining the Recovery School District, Diamantes worked as a manager with Deloitte Consulting, designing and executing large-scale solutions for the federal government, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Communications Commission. She provided organizational change management, strategic planning, and project management support. She previously served as the Executive Director of Strategy for the RSD.  Diamantes received her master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and her bachelor’s degree in political science and anthropology from George Mason University. 

Veronica Howard Sizer is an attorney specializing in education and estate planning law. She previously worked with the Office of Chief Counsel for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with the Department of Homeland Security. Before her time at FEMA, Sizer served as education policy advisor to former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Prior to her tenure as an education policy advisor, Sizer served as an assistant attorney general with the Louisiana Department of Justice.  Sizer received her juris doctorate from the Southern University Law Center and her bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern University and A&M College. Sizeris active in many professional and community organizations. She is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association, the Baton Rouge Bar Association, and the Louis A. Martinet Legal Society of Greater Baton Rouge.

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