BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Members of the Baton Rouge community are mourning the death of well-known Istrouma High School Principal Reginald Douglas.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office said Douglas died of natural causes. Douglas was 51 years old at the time of his death.
Members of the community credit Douglas with spearheading a strong turn around for Istrouma, including Woody Jenkins, who graduated from Istrouma and was later a member of the committee that hired Douglas as principal.
“He was a turnaround artist. Someone who could really take a school in great trouble and make it into a success. And that’s what he’s done at Istrouma. He’s really the man for the job, and boy, I don’t know what we’re going to do without him," said Jenkins. “He had really become one of my best friends in the world.”
A spokesman for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System released a statement about Douglas’ legacy Sunday afternoon. You can read the statement below.
“The East Baton Rouge Parish School System is deeply saddened by the loss of Istrouma High School Principal Reginald Douglas. Douglas was instrumental in creating the vision for Istrouma High School and will always be a champion of education. He will forever be known for his kindness and for instilling character-building and leadership qualities everywhere he worked. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, staff and students during this difficult time. Our school district will provide the school with additional counselors, I CAREspecialists, and other staff to assist the campus and offer comfort to students and staff throughout the week. Mr. Douglas was a tremendous leader and friend and was beloved by all,” wrote the school system’s spokesman.
Tributes to Douglas also came from Superintendent Warren Drake and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome Sunday afternoon.
“He modeled excellence and had high expectations for all. He was an outstanding colleague and an even better friend,” Drake said. “We will all profoundly miss him and must work to carry on his legacy of leadership and success.”
Jenkins said outside of Douglas’ legacy as an educator, the iconic principal will also be remembered for the special impact on everyone he met.
“He was a fun person. He loved to tell stories,” said Jenkins. “He put into everything a lot of passion a lot of caring and a lot of love.”
Grief counselors will be on campus helping students and faculty cope with the sudden loss.