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Cheatham inducted as 2019 BPSB president

Board President Billie Jo Brotherton passes the gavel to 2019 Bossier Parish School Board President Shane Cheatham at the January 10 meeting. (Courtesy photo)

A new face will now be front and center at Bossier Parish School Board meetings as District 11 Representative Shane Cheatham takes the helm as President for 2019.

He was passed the gavel by 2018 School Board President Billie Jo Brotherton during a January 11 ceremony. Serving as Cheatham’s Vice President is District 12 School Board member Dennis Bamburg, Jr.

A new slate of Bossier School Board members were also sworn into office by Bossier Parish Clerk of Court Jill Sessions. Kent Bockhaus will now serve as District 2 Representative; Tammy Smith will serve the constituents in District 3 and Duane Deen will be the District 4 School Board member.

Returning Bossier Parish School Board members are: Billie Jo Brotherton, District 1; Michael Mosura, District 5; Glen Bullard, District 6; J.W. Slack, District 7; Kenneth Wiggins, District 8; Eric Newman, District 9; and Sandra “Samm” Darby, District 10.

A graduate of Bossier Schools, Cheatham and his wife, Sam, have  two children currently attending schools in the district. His first order of business after introducing his family was to outline his vision and priorities for 2019 as Bossier Parish School Board President.

Below is the speech President Cheatham delivered to the meeting’s audience. Please join Bossier Schools in wishing President Cheatham well as he guides our district over the course of 2019.

Good evening. I feel very blessed and humbled to be here tonight and become the President of the Bossier Parish School Board for 2019. As a product of the Bossier Parish School system,  and having two children currently in our system, it is an honor to have the opportunity to work with my fellow board members, our superintendent, our staff, and our community stakeholders.

I have very big shoes to fill, sitting in this chair after Mrs. Billie Jo Brotherton, but I promise to work just as hard as she did and continue to do the things that are in the best interest of Bossier Parish Schools.

In 2019, we will have many important things to accomplish as a board. Our biggest obstacle, in my opinion, is hiring and retaining great teachers and employees. Bossier Parish has not given our teachers a substantial pay raise in over 20 years. We must address this, and we must be more competitive so that we can recruit the best teachers possible, as well as retaining the teachers we have hired, trained, and mentored. If Bossier Parish wants to continue to be the best, we have to recruit the best talent, and we have to address the fact that our neighboring parishes currently pay their teachers more than we do.  Bossier Parish is second to none in my opinion and it is time to take back our title as the best school system to work for in the State of Louisiana.

As a board we will have many other exciting and important things to accomplish in 2019. We have a need to address our technology infrastructure in our schools. Our classrooms are requiring more technology at each school, but our infrastructure has not been addressed to fit our current and future needs. We have to address this issue very soon and equip our educators with the technology they need to successfully teach our children.

In 2019 we will open the new Benton High School. We will see a new classroom wing open at Sun City Elementary School, new Restrooms and Concessions at Parkway High School’s baseball and softball fields, and we will begin other improvements to Bossier High School’s stadium and turf field; a turf field that has been great for our community and has been used by many of our parish’s students, from our elementary school students to our high school students.

In 2019, we will have our Bossier Schools’ 2nd annual i3 Art Expo, which will be Feb. 14-16 at the Bossier Civic Center.

Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, bringing together thousands of students, families and community members in a showcase of Bossier Parish children’s talents. It is a true community effort. The City of Bossier City is once again our co-sponsor and we have Cyber Innovation Center and numerous other community partners that have eagerly jumped on board to support Bossier Schools’ efforts.

We have a lot of work to do in 2019, but as you can see we also have a lot of exciting things going on in our parish. We are growing faster than ever. We are setting the bar higher in the classrooms. We are all working together for the benefit our our community. I am blessed to represent District 11 in South Bossier, and I plan to keep working hard for every student and constituent that I represent.

In closing, I would like to thank a few people. First, I would like to thank all the board members that supported and voted for me as our President in 2019, and I look forward to serving with each of you. I would also like to thank all of our Bossier Schools employees for the time and energy they give towards educating our children.

Finally, I would like to thank my family for supporting me. It will be a busy 2019, but with the support of my loving wife, Sam, my amazing daughter, Olivia, and my mini-me, Hunter, I look forward to a great year as President of the Bossier Parish School Board.