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Jun 19, 2014 6:53 PM by associated press

Watts named new West Baton Rouge schools chief

The West Baton Rouge Parish School Board has named Zachary's high school principal to be the parish's new superintendent of schools.

Wesley Watts' selection came after an hour-long executive session Wednesday night in which board members narrowed their choice from four candidates down to two: Watts and Frances Annette Mire, the school district's associate superintendent of human resources and staff development.

Watts, 45, was selected over Mire by a 7-3 vote.

Watts, who holds degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and McNeese State University, told board members during his public interview last week that within the first two years of his leadership, Zachary High went from being the lowest-performing school in the Zachary Community Schools District to the district's top-performing campus.

Board members Jason Manola tells The Advocate the board's selection now begins contract negotiations to lock in Watts' salary. The district pays current Superintendent David Corona $151,000 annually at the moment.

Manola said the board will be negotiating a two-year contract for Watts - which is the time left in the current board's terms.

"I'm very hopeful we'll have the contract ready for the board's approval at our next meeting," he said.

The School Board's next regular meeting is July 16.

Corona, who is retiring after 10 years with West Baton Rouge, is set to leave office at the end of July.


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