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One-Time, Two-Year Teacher Jessica Baghian Wants to Be LA’s Next State Superintendent

February 28, 2020

Jessica Tucker Baghian wants to be Louisiana’s next state superintendent. No surprise here.

According to the February 27, 2020, Advocate, Baghian, who currently holds a state assistant superintendent position, officially applied for the state superintendent job being vacated by John White effective March 11, 2020. The application window closes on Friday, February 28, 2020.

Baghian’s resume is part of the Advocate article, and in true market-ed-reformer fashion, it is light on classroom experience: two years (2006-08). She holds two degrees: a bachelors in mass communication (LSU, 2006), and a juris doctorate (Harvard, 2011).

Louisiana native Baghian started teaching in 2006 under a one-year provisional certificate (2006-07). (To see Baghian’s teaching certificate, click here and search “Jessica Marie Tucker.”) Her highest teaching credential is an expired Level 1 teaching certificate that was issued for three years (2007-10). The note on her certificate indicates that “teacher assessment required for higher certificate,” which means in her top-heavy ed career, she has no experience in completing necessary requirements to renew a permanent teaching certificate.

Baghian holds no administrative certifications. She has no experience even as an assistant principal.

Baghain told the Advocate, “I have spent my career working on behalf of the children of Louisiana,” she said. “I just believe so deeply in the potential of our children.”

Baghian believes so deeply in children that she holds no teaching degree, and she exited the classroom permanently after only two years, and she lacks experience in school-level administration.

Baghian’s resume reveals her to be the usual ed-reform hollow shell of experience.

According to this February 14, 2020, BESE press release on the superintendent search, the process moving forward is as follows:

The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has announced the launch of a national search for next State Superintendent of Education. The Board published the official applicant information packet on its website and set a submission deadline of February 28, 2020 for individuals who wish to be considered for the position. …

The next State Superintendent will inherit a system that has made significant strides in recent years including raising academic expectations, increasing access to quality early childhood education, expanding career education opportunities, and strengthening educator development, but will also face considerable challenges. As such, the Board hopes that the opportunity will attract a bold, new leader. Describing the task ahead, Orange Jones said, “The work group is committed to casting a wide recruiting net and facilitating an open and efficient selection process in order to attract the most competitive and diverse pool of applicants we can.”

The work group will oversee the administrative process of reviewing submissions, screening candidates and conducting interviews. Promise54 will assist the work group in managing the process. By early spring the work group anticipates facilitating possible interviews and proposing one to three applicants to the Board for the appointment of the next State Superintendent. Serving with Orange Jones on the Superintendent Selection Work Group are District 1 BESE member Jim Garvey, District 6 member Ronnie Morris, and At-Large member Doris Voitier.

Individuals wishing to apply for the position are invited to visit the BESE website at https://bese.louisiana.gov, where an applicant information packet is posted and available for download. The packet includes a job description that outlines qualifications, preferred experience, educational requirements, key responsibilities, as well as the process for submission of materials.

Applicants can submit their information until 5:00 p.m. Friday, February 28, 2020, with the work group beginning their Board-delegated responsibility of reviewing candidate information in March. The work group may conduct interviews and facilitate the interview process with individual BESE members in accordance with the state’s Open Meetings Law. Finalists could be named as early as March or April 2020. The resignation of current Superintendent John White is effective March 11, 2020.

The Board appoints the position of State Superintendent by a two-thirds vote of its total membership, requests confirmation by the Senate, and requests approval of the salary by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Compensation will be commensurate with the selected candidate’s experience. BESE is an equal opportunity employer.

I understand why some believe that BESE will hand the job to Baghian. However, I don’t think Baghian as next state superintendent is a given. One reason I hold this view is that White supporter, James Garvey, is the BESE member who pushed for usage of a recruitment agency to conduct the superintendent search. Garvey appears to want to shop around.

One more point: The BESE announcement includes the following (underlining mine), which appears at first to sing Baghian’s praises but then seemingly pulls back a bit:

The next State Superintendent will inherit a system that has made significant strides in recent years including raising academic expectations, increasing access to quality early childhood education, expanding career education opportunities, and strengthening educator development, but will also face considerable challenges. As such, the Board hopes that the opportunity will attract a bold, new leader.

So, yes, Baghian is in the race (an unsettling albeit expected reality), but I don’t think her winning that race is somehow in the bag.

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Jessica Baghian

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Book four coming in March 2020!

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9 Comments
  1. Kathy Edmonston Gmail permalink

    Good article

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Laura H Chapman permalink

    Unqualified, but likely well-connected. if put in place, those who hire her are equally unqualified.

    • Robert Tellman permalink

      Interesting how the liberal-minded (or maybe it’s just advantageous sometimes to pretend to be liberal) monied class expresses outrage when President Trump nominates someone for a leadership position in his administration who they deem unqualified for the job.

      But these same billionaires are fine with buying the Louisiana’s State Board of Education and its State Education Superintendent. Qualifications don’t matter now. I don’t sport a tin hat, but I’m savy enough to realize their plan is working here in Louisiana to keep OUR minority and high poverty kids downtrodden, thus ensuring an unlimited supply of low-wage workers for their enterprises.

      Keeping unqualified education officials leading the reform charge in OUR state might be your mission, but OUR mission is to help OUR kids attain the lives they deserve. We are not dumb southerners, we just don’t have your resources to buy corruption.

      But we know it when we see it. Shame, shame on you.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Jessica Baghian and Paul Vallas Among 7 Candidates for La. State Superintendent | deutsch29
  2. Louisiana’s Next Superintendent: Baghian, or Brumley, or Neither? | deutsch29
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  4. Louisiana Superintendent Cade Brumley Confirmed; Jessica Baghian Submits Resignation | deutsch29
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