Kolwe Resigns 12-6-17
AMITE -- After counting noses and noting that Rudolph was not lighting the way and that the votes for a contract extension were not likely available, Tangipahoa Parish schools Supt. Mark Kolwe has announced that he is resigning.
Kolwe's announcement came during the Dec. 5 board meeting following a brief executive session to consider Kolwe's evaluation. It is believed this was the first time a superintendent has requested a closed session to receive an evaluation.
When Kolwe returned to the dais, he appeared to be angry, but calmly announced he would be retiring June 30. He said after 43 years in the school system, he feels he has accomplished all of his goals.
He received a score of 3.8 out of 5 possible points.
Also during the meeting, the board elected Therese Domiano of Independence as its new president and Sandra Bailey-Simmons as vice president, making for a total female leadership.
There were no other nominations for the positions.
Teachers and support personnel will also receive a 13th check for Christmas thanks to the board's generosity.
The board has been under extreme pressure to reject an extended contract for Kolwe, who was seeking a third term. Although they have nothing personal against Kolwe, many feel it's time for new leadership and new ideas for the school system.
But a large number of his supporters were in the audience. They included such political and educational luminaries are state Rep. Sherman Mack of Albany, former Ponchatoula High School Principal A.J. Bodker, former Supt. Virgil Allen of Ponchatoula and former PHS Principal Lawrence Thompson.
All were on the front row, although current PHS Principal Danny Strickland was also in the audience.
Kolwe's salary is about $255,000 annually, and according to reports he will retire at full salary.
Former board President Mike Whitlow said following the meeting he believes the board will advertise nationwide for a new superintendent to get the best candidate possible.
The board again put off to another day the naming of a transportation director.
Kolwe and the nominating committee have recommended Byron Muse of St. Helena Parish for the job. Kim Notariano of Tangipahoa Parish, a 27-year bus driver and who is a state certified bus driver instructor, has also applied. It is Notariano's second attempt at the job, having applied when a vacancy occurred about five years ago.
Opponents to naming Muse to the job point to his lack of experience and the fact that a local person who is well qualified has applied. -- Reported by Don Ellzey