By Associated Press - Monday, March 2, 2020

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - More than 20 people from across the country have applied to be Louisiana’s next state education superintendent, according to the state’s top school board.

The 21 applicants include higher education professionals from schools in Louisiana, Texas and Tennessee, as well as public school teachers, a Louisiana teacher’s union representative and other consultants, administrators and educators holding posts nationwide. An Arkansas Department of Education official as well as a former Kentucky education chief have also applied for the position, news outlets reported.

The current superintendent, John White, announced in January that he would be resigning March 11 after eight years in the role.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Kira Orange Jones is chairwoman of the working group that will help select White’s successor. She called the list of applicants “a very diverse and talented pool of educational leaders” in an update released Saturday, one day after the application window closed.

Jones has said she hopes the panel will agree on White’s successor at its two-day meeting April 20 and 21. At least eight of the 11 board members must vote to approve the new hire.

Asked about the applicants Monday, Gov. John Bel Edwards didn’t name a favorite. He said he hoped the board will pick someone with classroom experience who has worked in a variety of education roles and is a “champion for education.”

“I believe that we have multiple candidates who fit that bill,” the Democratic governor said.

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