After 2 votes, new Louisiana education superintendent chosen

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The leader of one of Louisiana’s largest suburban school systems was chosen Wednesday as the state’s new education superintendent, defeating the business-backed candidate in a last-minute decision from the state’s top school board.

Jefferson Parish Schools Superintendent Cade Brumley won the second vote taken by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education after board members deadlocked on the first vote.

Brumley received the backing of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ three appointees to the board, along with five elected members, including board President Sandy Holloway. Two-thirds of the 11-member board must agree to hire a superintendent. Brumley received exactly the eight votes needed.

He was favored over Jessica Baghian, an assistant state superintendent at the Department of Education who was backed by business organizations and pro-charter school groups, and Lonnie Luce, former superintendent of the St. James Parish school system.

In the first round of voting, each of the three nominated contenders received only five votes. Board members took a short recess, then came back for the second vote that selected Brumley.

Louisiana’s education superintendent oversees and sets policies governing more than 700,000 public school students across the state. Longtime leader John White resigned as superintendent in March after holding the position since 2012. White received a $275,000 salary.

It wasn’t immediately clear when Brumley would start in the position. Contract negotiations will decide his start date and salary, according to the education board.