West Baton Rouge School Superintendent Wes Watts said Monday afternoon that the first day of school for the 2014-2015 WBR school year, August 11, went off without a hitch.
“It’s been an unbelievable start. It’s been so smooth,” said Watts, who is in his first year as superintendent. “Our principals and their staffs did a great job of doing the legwork that you have to do before school starts. There’s a lot of work that goes into the summer.”
Watts said that he was impressed with the preparation of teachers at each school, as the classrooms he witnessed were all in the middle of actual instruction.
“I went to every school, and teachers were up there teaching today. I think that sets a great tone for our students and for our schools,” he said. “That’s part of our pursuit of excellence. I couldn’t be happier with our principals and their staffs and the work that they did.”
Watts said that August 11 was the first day of class for middle and high school students and many elementary ages as well, but all students parishwide, including head start, pre-k and kindergarten will be in classes by August 22.
This year marks Watts’ first year as a superintendent as well as first year in West Baton Rouge Parish, as he spent his career as a teacher, coach and administrator at Central High and Zachary High schools.
“It was neat to see it from a different perspective because I’m usually in the middle stressing,” he said. “Today, I was just sitting back and watching the amazing work of other people.
“All I did was go to each school and check, make sure everything was ok and could I help anybody. They told me to get out the way. They had it.”
Watts said that he is proud of the work of the teachers and administrators throughout the summer as well as the great start of 2014-2015 school year.
“It was awesome. The teachers were in such a good mood,” he said. “They seemed to be so enthusiastic everywhere I went. I was really, really fired up today.”
Other than Watts’ appointment as superintendent, West Baton Rouge Schools have gone through many changes over the summer, from new principals to new wings of schools.
Below is a list of many of the changes that have occurred since the end of last school year.
• Brusly Elementary School completed the construction of their new wing of the school, which will be used to house pre-k and kindergarten classrooms.
• Elizabeth Sarradet was named Chamberlin Elementary school’s newest principal.
“We had several quality candidates for that position,” Watts said. “We just thought that (Sarradet) was a perfect fit.”
Chamberlin has seen plenty of turnover in the recent past, being host to four principals since 2010, including Sarradet.
“One of the things that we needed at Chamberlin was stability. They’ve changed principals quite a bit recently, so not only was (Sarradet) probably the best qualified, but also the best fit there,” Watts said. “We feel like she’s going to be there for a while and that school deserves it.”
Sarradet served as assistant principal at Port Allen Elementary, under the leadership of principal Michelle Kauffman.
Watts said that Sarradet has “been loyal to West Baton Rouge and she was deserving of that opportunity. We know that she’s going to be there for a while. That’s going to be encouraging to that staff and to the people in that community.
• Kendra Oubre, replaced Sarradet as Port Allen Elementary’s new assistant principal.
• Michael Wright was named the new assistant principal at Cohn Elementary.
• John Arrasmith, who was interim principal at Port Allen Middle last year, was named the school’s official principal. Kevin Moore was named the school’s new assistant principal.