On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White announced the appointed Patrick Dobard as the Interim Superintendent of the state-run Recovery School District (RSD). Dobard, a career educator and New Orleans native, will transition into the role from his current position as Deputy Superintendent of Community and Policy for the RSD.
“The RSD has made significant strides in the past several months to fulfill the commitments it made to the New Orleans community that all students will be able to graduate from college or to attain a professional career. Patrick Dobard is the most qualified person to ensure the District follows through on those commitments,” said White. “I am looking forward to watching the continued growth and development of the District during his tenure, as he continues working with policymakers, teachers, families, and communities, to identify the best steps to ensure academic achievement is reached for the children of New Orleans.”
Governor Bobby Jindal expressed confidence in the selection of Dobard as the Interim Superintendent.
“Patrick was born and raised in New Orleans and knows the area, as well as the distinct needs and challenges facing schools in the Recovery School District across the state. I have no doubt he’ll work closely with John to build upon past successes and make sure we’re doing what it takes to provide students with a quality education,” said Gov. Jindal.
With a career in education spanning more than 20 years, Dobard has spent time in the classroom, as well as at the administrative level. Dobard’s career started with his first teaching job at Francis Gregory Junior High in New Orleans. He also taught at Davidson High School in Tensas Parish and finally at Northdale Magnet Academy in Baton Rouge. Additionally, he has spent time as an adjunct faculty member at Baton Rouge Community College.
Dobard joined the Louisiana Department of Education in 2001. He served in various roles at the Department, including overseeing the implementation of the state’s social studies portion of the Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (LEAP) and Graduation Exit Examination (GEE) program. Following that position, he was later promoted to a program officer position and managed a multi-million dollar statewide assessment contract. In 2005, Dobard took over the management of two LDOE divisions – the Division of Student Standards and Assessment and the Division of Educational Improvement and Assistance, which oversees Title 1 programs, statewide reading initiatives, and special education programs.
In 2007, Dobard was tapped by former Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek to serve as his Confidential Assistant. Dobard was later promoted to the position of Deputy Director of Governmental Affairs, serving as a legislative liaison for the Department and assisting and advising the superintendent on all education policy related matters. Before joining the RSD in his current role, Dobard also served as the State Superintendent’s Personal Liaison to the Recovery School District.
Dobard graduated from St. Augustine High School and received his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Southern University at New Orleans. He also holds a master’s degree in history from Southern University in Baton Rouge.
Dobard said he is fully invested in the fulfillment of the 12 commitments that were announced by the RSD earlier this year to get every student in New Orleans on track to graduate from college or to attain a professional career.
“Regardless of the change in administration, I still hold the same core beliefs and principles that we must do whatever it takes to ensure the success of students in New Orleans,” said Dobard. “We have listened to parents and members of the community, and we are focused on delivering on the promises and commitments we made to provide better opportunities for the students in this city. I’m looking forward to accomplishing the goals we have set.”
To date, the District has successfully completed seven of the 12 commitments outlined in What Will It Take? Those commitments include:
Commitment 2 – Implementing a new monitoring process for New Orleans charter schools.
Commitment 3 – Employing clear, strong accountability for both direct-run schools and charter schools starting in fall 2011.
Commitment 6 – Developing a city-wide, public school enrollment system for direct-run and charter schools starting in 2012.
Commitment 8 – Making it easier for parents and community members to get information, get questions answered and get issues resolved.
Commitment 9 – Making critical decisions regarding school transformations, school locations, building usage, and school closures through public processes and public input.
Commitment 10 – Identifying long-term school building assignments for all schools by the end of the 2011 calendar year.
Commitment 11 – Development of a Facilities Master Plan that will serve all New Orleans public school children in a new, renovated or refurbished facility.
In the next 30 days, the RSD is set to finalize two additional commitments with the release of its annual equity report, and the establishment of a diverse set of high school pathways.
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu expressed support of Dobard’s appointment.
Mayor Landrieu said, “Patrick Dobard has roots in New Orleans and has earned my respect and, more importantly, the respect of the community. He has a wealth of experience in the classroom and has demonstrated his leadership skills in the RSD already. I look forward to working with him to continue to improve our schools in New Orleans.”
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu also issued a statement commending the appointment of Dobard.
Sen. Landrieu said, “The appointment of Patrick Dobard as the Interim Superintendent of the Recovery School District is another bold and positive step in the right direction to continue improving education, not only in New Orleans, but in RSD schools across the state. Patrick’s passion and commitment to education – as shown through his 20-year career – coupled with his longstanding tiesto the community, will be a valuable asset in transforming education, improving our schools, and supporting the academic success of our children. I could not be more supportive of this appointment.”
Established by the Legislature in 2003, the Recovery School District oversees 96 schools across the state of Louisiana, with the majority of the schools located in the New Orleans area. The District also has schools in Baton Rouge and Shreveport. The RSD has an enrollment of more than 30,000 students.