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School Board Names Finalists For Superintendent Position

February 11, 2019 - The St. Charles Parish School Board has named four finalists in its search for the next Superintendent of St. Charles Parish Public Schools.  The finalists are now scheduled to tour the district, participate in a forum with the Community Advisory Committee, deliver formal presentations to the School Board, and participate in a final round of interviews this month.

Upon the completion of a national search, the Board received 22 applications from ten states and invited eight candidates to participate in the first round of interviews held in January.  Moving forward in the selection process are finalists Dr. Brian Binggeli of Texas, Dr. Ken Oertling of Louisiana, Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin of North Carolina, and Dr. Elizabeth Duran Swinford of New York.


Dr. Binggeli has eight years of experience as a superintendent, serving in that capacity for the Plano Independent School District in Texas (2015-2018) and Brevard Public Schools in Florida (2009-2015).  He began his professional career in 1981 as a high school social studies teacher in Ohio and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from Miami University, a Master of Education degree in Education Administration and Supervision from Virginia State University, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. 


Dr. Oertling is the current Executive Director of Secondary Schools for St. Charles Parish Public Schools and has served as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal since beginning his educational career with the district in 2001.  A veteran of the United States Navy, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Science Education, a Master of Education degree in Administration and Supervision, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University.


Dr. Pitre-Martin is currently employed by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as the Chief Academic & Digital Learning Officer/Deputy State Superintendent and was previously the Superintendent of Schools for Thomasville City Schools in North Carolina (2013-2016).  She began her professional career in Lafayette Parish Schools in 1989 as a teacher and speech/debate coach.  Dr. Pitre-Martin has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Education and Master of Science degree in Organizational Communication from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Administration from Texas A&M University. 


Dr. Swinford is currently working as Chief Executive Officer/Consultant for PD Remix of New York after having served as the Superintendent of Schools for the Tuscaloosa County School System in Alabama (2013-2015) and the Vicksburg Warren School District in Mississippi (2010-2013).  She entered the field of education as an honors math and science teacher in Puerto Rico in 1983 and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Interamerican University and a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and a Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. 

“The Board is pleased with the wide range of highly qualified candidates who applied and must now make an extremely difficult decision,” said John Smith, District 5 School Board Member and superintendent search coordinator.  “The Board has developed a transparent process which will help us move forward, including receiving input from the community survey and the Community Advisory Committee.”

The Board will utilize community input regarding what characteristics the next superintendent should possess.  Additionally, the Community Advisory Committee will meet with each finalist on February 18 before providing the Board with the names of the finalists the committee deem as the most qualified.  On February 19, the finalists will present to the Board and participate in formal interviews. 

The St. Charles Parish School Board is seeking a new superintendent to ensure a smooth transition before the upcoming retirement of Felecia Gomez Walker effective July 1.  The Board anticipates announcing its final selection at the School Board Meeting scheduled for March 20.