The St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District has named four new principals for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.
Christopher Mayes will head East St. John High School. Zina Jones will become the principal at LaPlace Elementary School. Toni Wilson will helm Fifth Ward Elementary School and Monica Brown will take over leadership at John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School.
Two current assistant principals will now take over the head leadership roles at their schools.
Jones has served as assistant principal at LaPlace Elementary School for the past two years, where she has served as a role model for both students and staff while assisting in daily leadership at the school. She also served two years as assistant principal at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School and for nearly seven years as assistant principal at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School. Her classroom experience includes time at Garyville/Mt. Airy Math and Science Magnet School and in the Orleans Parish School System.
She holds a master’s degree in principalship from Xavier University and is currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of New Orleans.
Brown is currently serving as assistant principal at John L. Ory Communication Arts Magnet School, where she has helped to maintain the school’s A rating. Before becoming assistant principal she was an English Language Arts teacher at the school and was named John L. Ory’s Teacher of the Year in 2009. She has also served as a special education teacher at LaPlace Elementary and R.K. Smith Middle schools and as special education coordinator for the New Orleans Recovery School District.
Brown holds a master’s in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University.
In addition, two new faces will be joining the district’s leadership team.
Mayes is coming to East St. John High School from KIPP Delta Public Schools in Arkansas, where he served as principal/school director. Under his leadership, the school attained a 100 percent high school graduation rate, 100 percent of seniors being accepted to at least one university and an average attendance rate of 96.5 percent.
Previous to that, he served as a member of the senior leadership team at Baton Rouge College Prep, as assistant principal at the Career Academy in the East Baton Rouge Parish Public School District and an instructional coach/literacy specialist at Firstline Schools in New Orleans. He also spent time in the classroom as a teacher with the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice in Breaux Bridge, the New Orleans Public School System and Jefferson Parish Public Schools.
He also completed a fellowship with the Accelerate Institute, a rigorous nationwide program to train school leaders.
Wilson will lead Fifth Ward Elementary School after serving as principal at Wedgewood Elementary School in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. She also spent three years as an assistant principal, served as a school instructional specialist and spent time in the classroom as an elementary school teacher, all in East Baton Rouge.
She holds a master’s in education for administration/supervision from Southern University.
“I think this is a move in the positive direction,” School Board President Albert “Ali” Burl III said. “If we put the right principals at the right schools we are going to be an A district.”
The four principals were chosen after an extensive interview process, which included questions from administrators, presentations, breaking down school performance data, school visits and a public forum for parents and other community members to meet a final group of candidates.
“The process prepared by the school system administration was one of the best processes I’ve seen since elected to this board. The process engaged all levels of top administrators, board members as observers and consultants from NIET (National Institute for Excellence in Teaching),” School Board Vice President Patrick Sanders said. “The district is working diligently to show improvement at all schools and the School Board is encouraging astringent measures to make sure all students are afforded opportunities of academic advancement.”