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Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards Appoints Three BESE Members

January 5, 2016

On January 05, 2016, Louisiana Governor-elect John Bel Edwards announced his three appointees to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

Doris Voitier  Doris Voitier

One is St. Bernard Parish Superintendent Doris Voitier, who graduated in 1971 from the University of New Orleans with a degree in secondary education (her classroom certification is in math and social studies) and who has been certified as a supervisor of instruction and principal since 1982. Voitier received her certification to become a superintendent in 1994. Voitier became superintendent of St. Bernard Parish Public Schools the year before Hurricane Katrina hit, 2004-05.

Lurie Thomason  Lurie Thomason, Jr.

A second appointee, Lurie Thomason, Jr., is an assistant professor at Grambling State University. Thomason has been teaching at Grambling for over 20 years. Governor-elect Edwards approached both state union presidents and asked them to offer consensus suggestions for potential BESE appointees. Thomason was one of the individuals whom Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) President Steve Monaghan and Louisiana Education Association (LAE) president Deborah Meaux suggested that the Governor-elect appoint to BESE.

During the past month, I have corresponded with Meaux regarding the union choice for suggested appointees. In response to my concern about the ability of the governor-elect’s appointees to navigate BESE, Meaux wrote the following:

I can assure you they (the union-endorsed suggested BESE appointees) are aware of the problems with the reform movement and are in opposition to any dismantling of public education and in favor of a Louisiana candidate for state superintendent of Ed with Louisiana approved credentials.

thomas roque  Thomas Roque, Sr.

The third appointee is Thomas Roque, Sr., the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Alexandria, a system comprised of eight elementary and three high schools, spanning Avoyelles, Rapides, and Nachitoches parishes.

Not much information is available on Roque (or Thomason, for that matter). However, I know that in making his three appointments, Governor-elect Edwards wanted to appoint two public school and one parochial school representative. Also, these appointees are neither controversial public figures, nor are they promoters of market-based reform.

I believe Edwards’ BESE appointments bespeak what I have already written about his intention to “govern from the center”– and to lean that center toward those with Louisiana roots and Louisiana education careers appointed to run Louisiana education.

john bel edwards  John Bel Edwards


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

From → AFT, BESE

  1. AMF permalink

    It appears from cursory research of these appointees, that Voitier supports Common Core and Eureka Math in particular. Apparently, Roque supports Common Core for the catholic schools in the Diocese of Alexandria. Considering that JBE appeared to be anti-CC in the gubernatorial race, isn’t it concerning that he would add two more pro-CC BESE members to the already pro-CC board if he truly intends to get rid of CC (and John White)?

    • These folks do not have an established corporate reform agenda, so I am not concerned that they will fall in step with White.

      • AMF permalink

        What about Common Core? Do you think we should expect them to keep it and not fight against it as well.

      • I don’t see Voitier as pushing CC just for the sake of keeping it. I don’t see her as being quieted about what genuinely concerns constituents, either.

        I think Edwards would have been careful about choosing appointees who listen to the public.

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