Feb 23, 2012 11:17 PM by Maddie Garrett

Lafayette Superintendent Making Waves; Re-examines Thib Tech

Lafayette's Thibodeaux Technical High School is under the microscope and already the new school could be seeing some changes.

Even though Thibodeaux Tech is fairly new, new Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper said it needs a second look. It's all part of his sweeping changes he's taking Lafayette Parish.

"Different is not always bad, different can be good and in this case I think it is," said Lafayette Parish School Board President Shelton Cobb.

Cobb said he agrees with Cooper's plan to re-examine Thibodeaux Tech and make sure renovations and curriculum aren't duplicates of the W.D. Smith vocational center already in place. He said it's better to make changes now before more money is put into Thibodeaux Tech.

"We need to make a distinct differentiation of the two," explained Cobb.

Board members said part of Cooper's plan is to involve industry leaders such as Shell and Chevron in the classroom, creating a very high-tech and specialized school.

"The idea of Thibodeaux Tech is it was going to have a specialized career technical vocational academy and what we're going to have with Dr. Cooper coming on board is we're just going to take that idea and make it bigger," board member Mark Cockerham.

While not everyone was on board with Cooper's changes in the beginning, board members said the divide is melting away and ushering in a new era of cooperation.

"He wouldn't have been my choice, it was obvious I didn't vote for him. But he's here... so we need to embrace what we have and we need to work with him and we need to see what we can do together in order make the system what we all expect it to be," said board member Rae Trahan.

Trahan said she supports Cooper in his decision to re-examine Thibodeaux Tech and look at being more cost efficient, however she voiced concerns about making the school too elite and not accessible to the average student.

For the now nothing further will be done at Thibodeaux Tech until the superintendent's task force puts together its report and presents those to the school board.



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