Scott M. Richard leads Acadia Parish as Superintendent

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Scott M. Richard leads Acadia Parish as Superintendent

St. Landry Parish native Scott M. Richard took over as the Acadia Parish Superintendent in July.

St. Landry Parish native Scott M. Richard took over as the Acadia Parish Superintendent in July.

Jill Luckett

St. Landry Parish native Scott M. Richard took over as the Acadia Parish Superintendent in July.

Jill Luckett

Jill Luckett

St. Landry Parish native Scott M. Richard took over as the Acadia Parish Superintendent in July.

Lacey Kibodeaux, Editor-in-chief

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Scott M. Richard has had a busy few months in Acadia Parish since he became the superintendent on July 2.

Richard, 49, admitted that he was not encouraged by anyone, in particular, to apply for this position, but he and his wife discussed it frequently.

“My decision to apply for the position was based on a number of factors. I’ve been privileged to have held a number of positions in public education and felt like my experiences have prepared  me to serve in the capacity of Superintendent of Schools at the parish/district level.”

Samantha Young, the executive administrative assistant for curriculum and instruction, who is also handling secretarial duties while Richard’s secretary is out, has been working for the Acadia Parish School Board for 28 years. She met Superintendent Richard a few days before he took the job.  “My immediate perception of Superintendent Richard was that he is very professional, a true leader, and sincere with his main focuses, being that he wanted a quality education for all students and having APSB work as a team,” she said. “After working with Superintendent Richard, his qualities are the same, in my opinion.”

Young also mentioned what she likes about Richard. “He is hands-on, efficient, competent, well-organized, goal oriented, and an effective communicator,” she stated. “He is determined to make positive changes where it is needed.”

Richard explained what motivates him to succeed as superintendent.  “The very important responsibility that the citizens of Acadia Parish expect the very best education possible for their children.”

He also values the “hard work” by everyone in the school system, from the teachers to the support workers.  “As their leader, their efforts that I see on a daily basis push me to stay focused on the positive things that happen each and every day that often do not get recognized by many.”

Prior to his new position, Richard served as the executive director of the Louisiana School Board Association for six years.  “My previous position prepared me in a number of ways, as I had the honor of advocating on behalf of public education on a number of important policy issues that affect the overall operations of the school and school districts,” he explained.  “The opportunity to work with elected officials at the local level, state level, and national level helped me to have a broad understanding relative to how policies at various government levels actually impact students’ learning, which should be the end-goal of any good policy that governs education.”

Richard graduated from Opelousas Senior High School and has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, a Bachelor of Science in social studies education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and a Master’s in educational administration and supervision from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge.

During his career in education, Richard taught at a small rural school in St. Landry Parish, a large high school in Lafayette Parish, and a special school in Baton Rouge that served at-risk students.

He also served as an administrator for the Louisiana Department of Education and as an administrator for the Lafayette Parish School System.  He was also on the St. Landry School Board for nine years.

“Each position helped me gain valuable experience in a number of ways which ultimately assist me in decision-making in my current position as Superintendent of Schools for the Acadia School System.”

He also discussed what he feels are his strongest assets.  “A wide range of experiences at a number of different levels in public education, the ability to recognize and work through complex issues and problems with a dedicated team of people, and self-motivation and self-discipline to stay focused on achieving goals.”

Richard is also a military veteran.  “I do think it’s important to note that my military experiences in the United States Army and Louisiana Army National Guard are worth mentioning, as those experiences, in my opinion, have helped to shape the person I am today.”

Richard addressed the areas where he wants to see improvement.  “In general, the Acadia Parish School System will focus its efforts to always improve student achievement as determined under the current Louisiana Department of Education’s accountability system,” he noted.  “Also, we should always strive to improve overall efficiency in how we deliver the education program to our students so that education in Acadia Parish is modern and responsive to today’s student.”

As far as Crowley High is concerned, Richard is looking for improvement on the state-administered End-of-Course exams.  “Also, a more concentrated effort should be made to improve ACT scores for all students at Crowley High School,” he stated.

Crowley High School Principal Timothy Boudreaux recalled that he first met Richard when the new superintendent visited CHS at the beginning of the year.  “He seemed very organized and genuinely interested in learning about CHS,” said Boudreaux.

A typical day for the new Acadia Parish superintendent of schools begins at 4 a.m. and ends around 6:30 p.m. “(It involves)  reviewing emails, school visits, arrival at the district office for a number of various interactions with school district staff, ongoing communication throughout the day with various system staff, communication with school board members, communication with community members, providing guidance to  a number of staff on a number of issues that arise throughout the day, (and) observing students and teaching as much as possible on any given day.”

He reflected on the hardest parts of his job. “Finding enough hours in the day to address the numerous matters that arise during any given day and time management,” Richard said.  “Working through tough situations that deal with some of the various challenges that arise with student and employee discipline when policies and procedures are not followed. The desire to ‘fix’ things sooner rather than later, and, understanding that in order to  truly improve things, a more systematic, long-term approach is a better path forward.”

He also spoke about the easiest part of being the superintendent.   ”Visiting and interacting with our hard-working teachers, support employees, and most of all, our students. They inspire me to work harder and stay focused on helping them every time I visit a school. Also, our elected school board members have been very supportive of my efforts to improve the district operations in a number of areas.”

Richard addressed the goals he has.  “Short-term goals include a thorough review of each overall operational aspect of the school system, from finances to instruction, so they can formulate meaningful efforts to set long-term goals that work to improve student achievement.”

Richard described himself as a superintendent.  “Hands-on, no-nonsense, firm-but-fair leader that genuinely cares about each student, each employee and cares about improving the education we provide- thus making our community better here in Acadia Parish.”

Richard had one final comment.  ”I am honored and privileged to be given the awesome responsibility of leading education in Acadia Parish. I am committed in every way to improve the overall education of our students, and to ensure, that as the largest employer in the parish, that our school system is viewed as a professional organization.”

Young echoed her boss’ sentiments.  “Mr. Richard is committed to excellence, high standards, and dedication to everyone, from administrators to teachers, to staff, to students, and to parents.”

Richard, who is originally from Opelousas, has been married for 21 years to Mary Richard, and they have one daughter, Aimee D. Richard.