February 28, 2006
Reported by Pam Dixon
Cliff Friedman retired from the Jeff Davis Parish School System in 2004 after 36 years. But retirement for this 60 year old may be cut short if BESE names him Acting Superintendent of Education. Friedman says, "There are a myriad of challenges out there. Funding is always a challenge in education, teacher shortages. Accountability is a challenge. We've made some great strides in accountability, but there's always more to do."
Friedman worked his way up from a coach and teacher to superintendent of schools. During Friedman's five years as superintendent, Jeff Davis schools ranked number one for certified teachers, district performance scores were among the top in the state, teacher pay jumped from 41st to 9th highest, and the district had enough money to renovate 75 percent of Jeff Davis schools and start construction of a new Jennings High. Friedman says, "I think we've come up with some innovative ideas and met some challenges. I believe some of that could be carried over to the state level."
But even with more than three decades of experience, Friedman knows filling the shoes of the late Cecil Picard is a monumental task in itself. Friedman says, "Mr. Picard was a dynamic leader. He is a legend in the state of Louisiana, not only as a legislator, but as State Superintendent of Education."
The three other educators being considered are Iberia Schools Superintendent Sonny Baudry, West Feliciana Schools Superintendent Lloyd Lindsay and Paul Pastorek, attorney and chairman of the Recovery School District Advisory Committee.