BESE picks Jefferson Parish Schools leader for state superintendent
David Jacobs/ The Center Square
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary education has selected Cade Brumley to be the state’s next education superintendent.
Brumley has led Jefferson Parish Schools, the state’s largest public school system with more than 50,000 students, since March 2018. He replaces John White, who stepped down this March after eight years on the job.
“As a Louisiana native, I am extremely honored to be selected by a student-friendly BESE,” Brumley said. “I will fight for our children, families, and communities each day - they deserve our best.”
Brumley was selected by an 8-3 vote in the second round of voting after each of the three finalists were only able to garner five votes in the first round. Eight votes is the minimum number needed to select a permanent superintendent.
Jessica Baghian, assistant state superintendent of education, and former St. James Parish superintendent Lonnie Luce were the other finalists.
During Brumley’s time leading Jefferson Parish Schools, the system earned its first improvement in four years on its 2019 state report card, the system says. In 2019, he led creation of a new master plan for the system and campaigned successfully for a property tax increase for teacher pay raises.
He previously was the schools superintendent in DeSoto Parish and has worked as a teacher, coach and principal.
BESE’s next steps will be to negotiate and finalize a contract with Brumley, which the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget would have to approve, and ask the state Senate to confirm the appointment.
All three of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ nominees to the board backed Brumley, who was a popular choice among educators and advocates for traditional schools.
“What I know and appreciate about Cade is that as a leader he has a record of being inclusive,” Edwards said. “He has a seat at the table for everyone as he seeks and listens to input from all stakeholders.”
During the meeting, Camille Conaway of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry endorsed Baghian, though she stressed LABI would work with whoever the board selected.
“We look forward to partnering with Dr. Brumley and BESE to continue on an innovative policy pathway that prioritizes students and high-quality learning environments of all kinds,” LABI said in a prepared statement released after the vote.
Ethan Melancon, director of education policy at the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, also welcomed Brumley in a statement.
“Louisiana has been a leader in education reforms that ensure every child has access to a school that best fits his or her needs,” he said. “And yet, much remains to be done. This work is even more urgent now, and we look forward to working with Dr. Brumley to carry on that legacy and lead our state into a new frontier of education policy.”