West Baton Rouge Parish School System Superintendent David Corona announced that he plans to retire at the end of the school year.
“I just decided that it’s probably in the best interest of myself, and probably in the best interest of the system that I go ahead and make this my last year,” Corona said Monday morning during an interview.
Corona said that the decision to retire came “kind of suddenly” toward the beginning of school openings.
“The night before school opens you always have a knot in your stomach hoping everything goes well. And normally it does, but you still anticipate having that knot in your stomach,” he explained. “This year on the first day of school after everything went real well, as we expected, the thought entered my mind ‘if I don’t open another school year, I won’t have that knot in my stomach.’”
Jason Manola, WBR School Board President, recognized and thanked Corona during the Wednesday meeting.
“On behalf of the whole board, I just want to thank David for his years and everything he’s done for West Baton Rouge Parish,” said Manola.
Manola said that the board will have a time in the near future where they will recognize Corona for his contributions in WBR over the last 10 years.
Corona said that the 10 years he spent as superintendent in WBR were “the 10 best professional years of my life.”
During Corona’s tenure, the school district went from a “D” grade to a “B” in 2012 according to the Louisiana Department of Education’s annual district performance reports.
He attributes much of his success to the school board’s ability to simply create policy and not micromanage personnel.
“This has been the best 10 years of my professional career, and that’s because of the 10 people sitting up here who have allowed the educators to do things in the school system,” Corona said during the meeting. “They have honored me by allowing me to work here, and it’s been great.”
He said that the board decided not to manage people, allowing school personnel to run their schools, which has allowed schools to grow academically.
“The school board said ‘we’re getting out of the management business. You all run the day-to-day, we’re going to create the policy and we’re going to hold you responsible for doing that.’ And that’s how it’s worked.”
Corona said that he announced his retirement nine months before actually retiring to give the board ample time to find a replacement.
“The end of July is when I plan on retiring – so that the board will have enough time to go through the process and select a successor and that person will have time, should they desire, to have a transition with me. That’ll be up to them. And we’ll make it work smoothly, in the best interest of the system,” he said.
Manola said that the board will soon begin their process of selecting a new superintendent.
“We’re going to get together as a board and discuss the process and come up with a process for hiring the next superintendent of WBR Schools,” he said. “We know what it means to have a strong superintendent, a strong leader in WBR Parish. That’s something that not any of us take lightly. We’re going to put in whatever we need to put in to make sure the process is a good process, it’s a fair process to where we can have the best possible leader we can have here.”
Corona said he is confident that whomever the board chooses will be a perfect fit for the school system.
“Whoever said you’ll know when it’s time to retire – they really knew what they were talking about, cause innately you know. And It’s my time,” he said.