"It's time to take education to the level." Those words came from the state's new superintendent, Paul Pastorek. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education named Pastorek to finish out the late Cecil Picard's term.
Walter Lee with BESE says, "It's most unusual for the first time ever, for a state superintendent to be a non-educator."
Up against two superintendents, Paul Pastorek, a lawyer, will take office as state superintendent no later than March 30th. He has served eight years on the board of education, three as president and under Cecil Picard as chairman of the recovery school district committee.
Pastorek says, "There's no way I can live up to the legacy of Cecil Picard, I won't even try, not going to go there."
The board expects Pastorek to better the quality of education, until his term expires in January, already challenging him to fix certain school districts.
Louella Givens with BESE says, "But I can promise you - no justice, no peace. We will not be able to live in peace and harmony until we give the people of Orleans Parish the schools they need and deserve."
He has less than a year, but says he will change elementary education, up teacher pay, and pay more attention to districts destroyed by the hurricanes.
Pastorek says, "I may not have played the whole game, but if I come in the last two minutes and I can shoot just one basket that will win the game, that's fine by me. I just need enough time to get in the game and shoot the ball."
He plans on keeping his catch phrase in mind, "focus on the children."
Pastorek must be confirmed by the state Senate during its regular session this spring.
It's possible he could stay on past next January, but the new board, which takes over then, must make that decision.
Reporter: Tyana Williams, WAFB 9NEWS
We'd like to welcome Tyana Williams as the newest member of the WAFB 9NEWS team.
She comes to us from a television station in Alexandria, Louisiana.