Two Democrat candidates are running for the Lafayette Parish School Board District 4 seat in the Oct. 12 election.
Tehmi Chassion and Erica Williams are vying to represent the district in the northeast part of Lafayette Parish.
This is the second time the two have run against each other for the seat. Chassion defeated Williams with 57 percent of the 6,566 votes cast in 2014.
Chassion has been the District 4 representative since 2010 and is a licensed pharmacist in Lafayette.
Williams has been in Lafayette for the last eight years and is an instructor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Is my school in District 4?
Schools in District 4 include Dr. Raphael A. Baranco Elementary, J.W. Faulk Elementary, Paul Breaux Middle School, David Thibodeaux STEM Magnet Academy, Northside High, LeRosen Preparatory School and E.J. Sam Accelerated School/W.D. & Mary Baker Smith Career Center.
District 4 is in the northeast part of Lafayette Parish, bounded to the east by the parish line and Bayou Vermilion; to the north by Maryview Farm Road and Lajaunie Road; to the west by Evangeline Throughway, Moss Street, East Simcoe Street, West Grant and University; and to the south by Bayou Vermilion.
The district has 14,740 active registered voters, though residents can register to vote online through Saturday, Sept. 21.
The majority of those voters are black (65.4%) and registered Democrat (60.4%). More are registered as “other party” (3,818) than Republican (2,019).
Q&A with Candidates
Erica Williams, Candidate for Lafayette Parish School Board District 4
Hometown: Marietta, Georgia
Education: Completing PhD in Public Policy Management and Leadership
Family: Married to Dwight Williams, a Lafayette native, and they have three children. All three of them are currently in the United States Air Force.
Employment: Instructor at University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Prior office: None
How long in Lafayette: Eight years
What is the biggest challenge facing the Lafayette Parish School System and how will you address it?
As a whole, the Lafayette Parish School System is facing trust issues within the community. In order for schools to be successful, they have to secure the trust of the communities where they reside. Based upon failed tax proposals, an exodus of students to alternative education settings and open verbal comments regarding the Lafayette Parish School System, the community and the school system has a lot of work to do to regain trust and heal that relationship.
What is the biggest challenge in your district and how will you address it?
The biggest challenge facing District 4 is student performance. Regardless of what the school letter grade is, students performing on mastery level (which has been determined to be on grade level) is highly unacceptable. District 4 can no longer produce students that are not college-ready and unprepared for the workforce. Fixing education in my district will have a direct impact on future economic development. I strongly believe that the current Turnaround Plan in place under the direction of Interim Superintendent Irma Trosclair will be effective if she has the full support of all players: the board, the schools, and the community.
What’s missing from public schools in Lafayette Parish that would make them more attractive to more families?
Lafayette Parish Schools is missing a district community liaison. In order to truly find out what families are seeking in their educational experience, you have to ask. The district community liaison would track student enrollment in schools across the parish; including private, charter and home schools. This position would also generate surveys that ask targeted questions to gain knowledge on the educational needs of families. Their findings would be reported to the superintendent for possible program implementation or policy changes. Instead of wasting money on programming that fail within a year or so, we will use data-driven policymaking that reclaims students in our parish.
Tehmi Chassion, Candidate for Lafayette Parish School Board District 4
Hometown: Did not provide answer
Education: Did not provide answer
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Employment: Did not provide answer
Prior office: Did not provide answer
How long in Lafayette: Did not provide answer
Age: Did not provide answer
What is the biggest challenge facing the Lafayette Parish School System and how will you address it? Did not provide answer
What is the biggest challenge in your district and how will you address it? Did not provide answer
What’s missing from public schools in Lafayette Parish that would make them more attractive to more families? Did not provide answer
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