Taylor wraps up more meetings in B.R., plans full-time start in June

Taylor wraps up more meetings in B.R., plans full-time start in June

Bernard Taylor, the incoming superintendent of East Baton Rouge Parish public schools, is wrapping up his second week of whirlwind meetings, visits and contract negotiations in what will be his new home.

Taylor calls Baton Rouge "a very friendly and welcoming community" and expects to be on the job full-time by the middle of June. Among the highlights of his visit this week was a day trip to Conyers, Ga., which has a successful workforce training program involving both public high schools and the local community college system in a partnership arrangement.

A delegation led by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and including Taylor, representatives from Baton Rouge Community College, the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board and the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority spent Thursday touring the Conyers facility, which they hope to use as a model for a similar campus here at the planned Smiley Heights mixed-use development behind the Bon Carré Business Center on Florida Boulevard.

Taylor says he was impressed with the different programs the group saw, including welding labs, digital media and design labs, and dental technician labs.

"From everything I saw it is the best of all possible worlds," Taylor says. "Employers will have more workforce-ready individuals, young adults are getting job training, and they come out of high school with a job readiness they may not have had otherwise."

While Taylor says he looks forward to working toward the implementation of such a program in East Baton Rouge, he acknowledges it will take several years before it is fully operational here.

In the meantime, he wants to hit the ground running and put in place some initiatives of his own that he believes could happen as soon as the 2012-13 academic year.

One such idea is what Taylor calls "centers of innovation," special programs that would be created within existing schools and give students opportunities to focus on areas of interest. Watch Taylor discuss his plan in further detail in a Daily Report video below.

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