Pastorek Expected to Resign as Louisiana Schools Chief

By Sean Cavanagh — May 10, 2011 1 min read
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Paul Pastorek is reportedly set to resign as Louisiana’s state superintendent of education, concluding a tenure marked by aggressive policy changes and occasional controversy.

Pastorek, who formerly worked as a lawyer in private practice, has served as schools chief since 2007, when he was appointed to the post by the state board of education.

The Associated Press cites a number of state sources as saying Pastorek is on his way out the door.

Pastorek had previously served on the state board from 1996 to 2004. After stepping down from the panel in 2004, he launched Next Horizon, a nonprofit that sought to rally Louisiana leaders in education, government, business, and community, behind efforts to improve schools. He later was tapped by President George W. Bush to serve as general counsel to NASA, and left the space agency two and half years later to return to the legal profession.

As state superintendent, Pastorek won praise in many circles for bring changes to the state’s schools and pushing for higher academic expectations.

He also shepherded the state-led efforts to rebuild the New Orleans schools in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in 2005. Charter schools have played a major role in the new education landscape in the city.

But he also frustrated some education organizations, including teachers, local school board officials, and state lawmakers, who complained of being left out of the state’s decision-making process.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.