CPSB superintendent selection process raises questions from community members, teachers

Karl Bruchhaus. (Source: Calcasieu Parish School Board)
Karl Bruchhaus. (Source: Calcasieu Parish School Board)

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Karl Bruchhaus has served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Calcasieu Parish School Board for 17 years and was chosen out of four finalists for the superintendent spot this weekend.

"I think everybody was very sincere in wanting to make the best decision," said CPSB President Annett Ballard.

Bruchhaus' longtime background in business is raising questions amongst community members and teachers who, all along, had lobbied for someone with experience in the classroom.

"Their employees and the community at large wanted an educator as the face of the Calcasieu Parish School Board," said President of the Calcasieu Federation of Teachers Teri Johnson.

Johnson says she followed the selection process from the beginning and feels the school board disregarded the community's wants for the position.

"If you're not going to listen to your employees and the community, who voted you in, there's a problem with you and your constituents," said Johnson.

Johnson said she performed a survey through the Calcasieu Federation of Teachers and says that the main qualification teachers were looking for in a superintendent were "classroom experience" and "principal experience."

Johnson also believes the interview process was also pre-conceived.

"I feel, personally, they had their mind made up before the process even started," said Johnson. "That showed because five of those members only voted for one person through all the rounds and it came off as disrespectful."

Johnson also believes Bruchhaus will face a challenge in meeting the expectations of teachers.

"I think that's going to be one of his first issues," said Johnson. "How do you get everybody on board with you?"

Though many criticize Bruchhaus for his lack of educator experience, Johnson says she'll work with him as well as make sure teachers have full support from the board.

"I'm hoping that becomes a part of his plan of action and I'd be happy to serve on any committee he would let me," said Johnson.

Bruchhaus will find out when his first day on the job will be on Wednesday and the board will also discuss his contract.

Copyright 2014 KPLC. All rights reserved.