John White has announced that he will step down from his role as Louisiana’s State Superintendent of Education, a position he has held since 2012. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will immediately begin the process of selecting a new State Superintendent.
“Over the last eight years, Louisiana has made great strides under Superintendent White’s leadership in carrying out the vision of the Board,” said Dr. Holly Boffy, BESE Vice President. “The development and implementation of Louisiana’s ESSA Plan has been a vibrant collaborative experience that inspires great teaching and encourages effective learning, while aiming for constant growth and development for all students. The Board thanks him for his support in spearheading this critical work and for his dedicated and tireless service to the families, students, and educators of our state.”
“Though we have not always seen eye to eye, I appreciate John White’s service to our state,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “By working together, teachers received their first pay raise in a decade, MFP funding increased and additional funding was provided for early childhood education, all things the Superintendent supported. Louisiana has also achieved the highest graduation rate in history, increased the numbers of high schoolers earning college credit, and provided more opportunities for families needing early childhood education services. I wish him well, and I thank him for his service to our state.”
Superintendent White’s resignation will be effective March 11, 2020. In the coming days, BESE will convene a special meeting in Baton Rouge to discuss the process and timeframe for selecting his replacement. The Board appoints the position of State Superintendent by a two-thirds vote of its total membership.
Boffy emphasized the Board’s commitment to provide stability and continuity during this time of transition in an effort to ensure that students are prepared for the 21st Century, as well as to build upon the positive momentum and progress of our students and schools. “Louisiana’s plan to prepare all students for success in college and careers is a strong one, and our Board looks forward to continuing the considerable recent progress that has been made regarding early childhood efforts.”
During Superintendent White’s tenure, Louisiana’s high school graduation rate has climbed 9.1 percent to an all-time high of 81.4 percent, compared to the national growth of 4.6 percentage points during the same period. Students’ college and career credential attainment and TOPS eligibility also currently stand at record highs. The number of students earning Advanced Placement college credits has increased by 167 percent, and the number of students earning a college-going ACT score of at least 18 has increased by 7,397 since 2012, among the most improved in the nation.
“John is a champion for innovation and positive change, and he provided that focus for Louisiana at a time when it was most needed,” said outgoing BESE President Dr. Gary Jones. “We will come to fully realize the impact of his work in future years. I thank him for his commitment and service, particularly in the area of early childhood development, where needed improvements have been made to the benefit of our state’s youngest learners and their families.”
In the past eight years, considerable reforms to improve K-12 education have been implemented and several nationally recognized initiatives have been introduced, including:
The date of the BESE special meeting to discuss filling the State Superintendent position will be announced within the week. At the meeting, the Board is expected to address the search process, candidate criteria, anticipated timeline and related activities.