Jun 04, 2018

Event to be Held June 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Louisiana School for the Deaf and Visually Impaired

BATON ROUGE, La. - The two finalists in the search for the next Superintendent of the Special School District (SSD) will present their visions for the system during a public town hall event on Wednesday, June 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Louisiana School for the Deaf and Visually Impaired. A live video stream of the event will be available.

"With a new vision, the SSD can be a national leader in addressing the needs of some of our most vulnerable learners," said State Superintendent John White. "Louisiana seeks a Superintendent who has extensive experience in the education of  students with low incidence needs and who has expertise in managing systemic change. We are pleased to introduce the community to the finalists for this role, and we look forward to learning more about each of them in the coming weeks."

The finalists include:
  • Kristy Flynn, Principal for the Louisiana Special Education Center. For more than six years, Flynn has directed one of the three special schools in the SSD. She previously served as a special education teacher, a college adjunct professor, and a supervisor, facilitator and principal at the school system and state levels. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Louisiana State University and Northwestern State University, respectively.
  • Jon Harding, Interim Superintendent for Kansas State School for the Blind. In his current position, which he has held since July 2017, Harding has steered the school through systemic changes, grown its outreach services and established a culture of honest self-reflection, responsiveness to student needs and improvement of instructional practices. He previously served as a special education teacher. He holds a bachelor's degree in Social Sciences and two master's degrees, one in Learning Disabilities and one in Educational Leadership.

In addition to participating in the public town hall event, finalists will be interviewed by Department leadership. The next SSD Superintendent will be named by the State Superintendent of Education later this month and will take the helm July 1.

The SSD was established by the Louisiana State Legislature to provide education to students housed in state or privatized facilities and hospitals. The SSD oversees Louisiana's three special schools: the Louisiana School for the Deaf, the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired and the Louisiana Special Education Center. It also manages educational programs for eligible students enrolled in the Office of Youth Development, Office of Behavioral Health, Office of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Public Safety and Corrections and privatized facilities across the state.

The national search for a new Superintendent is part of a renewed vision and plan of action for the SSD and follows a recent external review of its three special schools. In July 2017, the Department, concerned with low student outcomes and opportunities, released a Request for Proposals for an external evaluator to review each school and provide recommendations on how each school could become a model of excellence in the state. In October 2017, BESE approved a contract between the Department and nationally recognized organization Education Development Center, Inc.

Education Development Center, Inc., working with subcontracted experts from the American School for the Deaf, the Perkins School for the Blind, and the Cotting School, visited each site, conducted interviews and focus groups, reviewed current and historical school data, and looked to national academic models that could be implemented in the Bayou State. These efforts resulted in a 17-page report of findings and recommendations for improvement.

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