Vermilion Parish Superintendent Placed On Paid Leave
Update: At the special meeting of the Vermillion Parish School Board, Superintendent Jerome Puyau was placed on paid administrative leave.
The move comes after several months of back-and-forth and what appeared to be an effort by remaining board members to remove Puyau. The special meeting had been called to discuss the superintendent’s future with the school system after several disagreements he had had with board members. Board members had questioned some of his decisions and his authority to make them. Monday was the first day of school in Vermilion Parish.
According to our news partners at KATC, this is a list of allegations and complaints brought up during the meeting created by the school board.
- Doesn’t go into classrooms
- Signs evaluations without observation
- Takes leave without notifying anyone
- Rapport with people in the community
- CEO, not instructional leader
- Overrules decisions by others by being vindictive
- Employees scared because of repercussions
- Erratic behavior and sudden mood changes
- Banging hands on desks & disrespectful body language
- Refused free security that would be paid for by the City of Abbeville.
- Didn’t hold true to promises
- Abusive behavior toward numerous people in the Vermilion Parish School System
- Contract employees hired without board knowledge
- Verbal attack on parents after meeting
- Overruling board decisions
- Inappropriate use of technology on school campuses
- Allowing individuals to attend work with their spouses
- Opened positions before bringing them to the board
- Denial to provide public record to the board
This is the developing story and we will have the latest tomorrow morning on “Acadiana’s Morning News.
As students and teachers stand on the cusp of a new school year in Vermilion Parish there is still unrest in that school system's administration. In a recent issue of the Abbeville Meridional an open letter to Superintendent Jerome Puyau was published. The letter appears in the form of a paid advertisement from former Vermilion Parish School Board President Anthony J. Fontana Jr.
Above is a picture of the letter as it appeared in the paper. Here is the text of Mr. Fontana's letter:
Open Letter To Superintendent Jerome Puyau
Dear Superintendent Puyau,
When you came to see me when the Board opened the position for Superintendent of Vermilion Parish Schools I told you that I did not think you had the experience necessary to be the leader of our school system. Then you interviewed with the Board and your interview was the most impressive interview I ever sat through on my tenure on the Board. You won me over and I cast my vote for you, along with many other board members, and you got the job.
You did not disappoint me and I supported you until the end of my tenure on the board. Your talent and ability to understand data helped turn our school system to the envy of school systems around the state. You helped Abbeville High become an A school to the surprise of everyone.
I fought hard to get you the contract that you earned, but once you were secure with your contract, you became a different person. You have alienated the board members that have been your biggest fans to the point that I believe all of the present Board have no confidence in you.
The morale of our employees is the worst that I have ever seen in spite of the fact that the system has been able to sustain the system's impressive standing against public school systems around the state.
The recent rankings, while impressive, have documented slippage. The question is whether that slippage is the result of a school board who has no confidence in you and want you gone and whether our employees no longer look to you as a worthy leader.
I for one, as a former supporter, acknowledge and want to thank you for your accomplishments. It has been a great run. However, I truly believe that is now in the best interest of the school system that you step down as superintendent and negotiate a new job or jobs that you are highly qualified to perform to serve out your contract. You have gotten the system to the mountain top, but I don't believe you can do anything to keep the system there.
If you truly care about what is best for the parents, children, and employees of the system, you need to turn over the job of superintendent to Assistant Superintendent Paul Hebert until the Board that comes in on January 1, 2019, can open the job for someone to replace you. It is time that the Board Members come together and the turmoil stops. Do the right thing and help the system come together.
Sincerely, Anthony J. Fontana Jr.
Interestingly enough, there is a special meeting of the Vermilion Parish School Board being held tonight (August 6) at 6pm.