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Superintendent search finishes with final round of candidate interviews

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BATON ROUGE – The final round of interviews for the two candidates vying for the East Baton Rouge School’s superintendent job wrapped up Tuesday.

For 90 minutes, Andrea Zayas and Kevin George were grilled separately on processes, structure, and techniques that can be used to improve the EBR school district. They spoke about their individual experiences that best prepare them to serve East Baton Rouge in a leadership role. 

In reflecting on the hiring process so far, Andrea Zayas says she’s positively interacted with parents and teachers. 

“I loved to have the opportunity to engage with parents with teachers with young people with school leaders throughout the last couple of weeks, and really intensely over the last couple of days,” Zayas said.

George and Zayas both have extensive experience operating schools and school boards. Tuesday night, both candidates were asked how they’d manage a district where parents and teachers have said they prefer the interim Superintendent Adam Smith to run the district.

“It is difficult to watch,” George said. “Adam has worked in the system for 27 years. He has amassed a lot of friends and a lot of people that respect him.”

Zayas says as a newcomer to Baton Rouge, she feels welcomed and is ready to get started working with the community. 

Community activist Storm Matthews says she’s not upset with the candidates for moving forward, but instead she’s concerned that board members ignored the community’s wishes.

“It's not the candidates' fault,” Matthews said. “I actually feel bad for them, and you know what they're having to deal with and going through this, but it should be Adam. That's what the public has asked for.”

Both candidates also outlined their first 100 days in office, both saying it’s a time to build relationships and set a positive tone.

"Yes I learned a lot in the last month but only through talking with people and understanding what their needs are, can I build a better system for them, so that's what I'll be doing," George said.

"First 100 days are about establishing priorities communicating them really well throughout the district, building trust, building relationships, getting into every single one of the schools,” Zayas said.

The school board has until Thursday, July 11 to choose the superintendent.

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