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John White Is Officially Out; Deputy Beth Scioneaux Becomes La.’s Acting Superintendent

March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020, marked John White’s last day as Louisiana superintendent.

On his Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) bio, White began sometime between March 2019 and July 2019 to identify himself as “the longest serving state education chief in the nation.”

He does not mention the political maneuvering and insulation that brought him there and kept him there for eight years and two months.

Well, White’s political favor ran out during the 2019 BESE elections, and with the reelection of Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards to a second term, apparent behind-closed-door negotiations likely involving some of the same political forces that maneuvered to keep White in place for eight years made a deal which led to White’s resignation announcement on January 08, 2020, only days prior to Edwards’ second inauguration, on January 13, 2020.

Given that White tendered his resignation with “‘no plans’ for his immediate future,” his exit was not likely to be of his own doing. In 2017, Education Week found White to be the third highest paid education superintendent in the nation.

Education reform pays.

White’s annual salary was $283,384 in 2012 and has been $275,000 from 2013 to 2018, as per White’s annual financial disclosure reports (which can be found here). If White’s annual salary was also $275,000 in 2019 and $22,917 per month for his final two months, then that means Louisiana, with its average teacher pay falling in the national rankings, has paid its poltically-positioned, Teach for America-alum superintendent an astounding $2,254,218 for 8.16 years of employment.

White did not willingly walk away from such a plum.

But now, John White is former state superintendent, and Louisiana’s state ed board (BESE) appointed Deputy Superintendent of Management and Finance, Beth Scioneaux, as acting superintendent until BESE selects the next state superintendent, “in accordance with R.S. 36:646:

Title 36

§646. Deputy state superintendent

There may be a deputy state superintendent of the department, who shall be appointed by the state superintendent with consent of the Senate. He shall serve at the pleasure of the state superintendent at a salary fixed by the state superintendent, which salary shall not exceed the amount approved for such position by the legislature while in session. The duties and functions of the deputy state superintendent shall be determined and assigned by the state superintendent. He shall serve as acting state superintendent in the absence of the state superintendent. If no deputy state superintendent is appointed, the state superintendent shall designate the deputy superintendent of management and finance or the deputy superintendent of district support to serve in his absence.

Scioneaux holds a bachelors degree in accounting from Louisiana State; she has been with the LDOE working in finance since 1998. Scioneaux was promoted to Deputy Superintendent of Management and Finance in 2007.

Twenty-one individuals have applied to be Louisiana’s next superintendent. BESE might be ready to vote on the issue when it convenes April 20th and 21st.

john white 2

Former La. supt. John White

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2 Comments
  1. Patty and Armand St. Martin permalink

    YAYYYYYY! Patty

  2. Jill Reifschneider permalink

    Congratulations. I wish you the very best!

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