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New EBR superintendent ready for district's challenges

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BATON ROUGE-  Budgets, break-away attempts and an embattled school board are all on Bernard Taylor's to-do list. 

The new leader for East Baton Rouge Parish Schools is already elbow-deep in the challenges.  It's what Taylor says drew him here.

He says he's taken on every issue facing Baton Rouge schools in other jobs and he says this move is best for his career, and Baton Rouge's future.

"I did not take this job because I needed a job," Taylor said to a Senate committee Thursday, "I took this job because I wanted this job."

That was Taylor's introduction to Baton Rouge Thursday when he made his first move as East Baton Rouge Parish's next chosen superintendent of schools.

"I felt very comfortable doing that yesterday," he said, and Taylor adds he's ready to lead the fight for the district against the number of odds it's facing, including the most imminent, an effort to break it apart.

"I think what my job is going to be is to articulate to people that what they have in this district is something that is a value and something that needs to be given an opportunity to figure out how it can better serve students," he said.

That, for Taylor, starts with the performances in Baton Rouge classrooms.

"I think there's a perception that all the children are failing, they're not," he said, "We have children that are doing exceedingly well, we have some children that have struggles."

But struggles seem to be Taylor's strong point, having already settled one of the district's greatest ones, among his new bosses, the school board, when all eleven agreed to hire him.

And Taylor can't get to the rest fast enough, especially with the support he's received from the community, which is the most, he says, he's ever had.

"I have no fear or trepidation about this job will entail and I do believe that as the years unfold that it's going to be, for me, a challenge but a good challenge," he said.

Taylor says talks over his contract are on-going.  He made about $200,000 a year in his last position.  The board is aiming to approve the final paperwork at next week's monthly meeting.


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