Watson starting as new Superintendent of Concordia Parish Schools

Published 10:26 am Friday, June 11, 2021

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish School Board on Thursday approved a new superintendent contract with Toyua Watson, who has previously served the school district as director of secondary education.

Superintendent Whest Shirley’s contract ends on June 30, school board officials said.

Watson will begin to assume the duties of Superintendent immediately while Shirley finishes his last month training her to take over.

Her contract officially begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2024, with a starting salary of $120,000 per year. Shirley’s contract, which expired Dec. 31, was not renewed but was extended month to month so he could finish working through the 2020-2021 school year.

Shirley began his tenure as the district superintendent in 2017 after he worked 10 years as an administrator and taught school in Vidalia for 22 years.

Shirley said he is interested in continuing to work for the Concordia Parish School District in some capacity but is not sure of the position yet.

“I don’t have anything definite lined up right now,” he said. “I’m still the superintendent until June 30 and I’ll be there to make sure Mrs. Watson has everything she needs. … I’ve got a few offers. I’m sure I will roll into something come July. … We will all be doing all we can to make sure Mrs. Watson has the tools to be successful. We want to continue to see our parish thrive and grow.”

In Thursday’s meeting, school board members thanked Shirley for his years of service to the district.

“We appreciate the time, service and dedication that you’ve shown, taking time away from your family,” said Fred Butcher, board president. “We know that being the school superintendent is a demanding job and we thank you for your service.”

Butcher said he knew Shirley would continue to be involved in Concordia Parish School District while his children finish school and he would still be an asset to the school district.

“The important thing is we’re here to serve people and ensure children will have a better start in life,” Butcher said.

Watson, who is graduate of Ferriday High School, said she is excited for the opportunity to do more for her district.

She returned to Concordia Parish six years ago after working in various capacities in Rapides Parish. In Rapides Parish, she taught fourth and fifth grade students before being promoted to the district curriculum specialist for middle school and elementary students. She was also the 504 director for the district and trained other teachers on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills test and data teams.

She obtained her master’s degree in education from Northwestern State University and has 13 years of educational experience in teaching, counseling and special program management.

“We will all work diligently with you and we look forward to your leadership,” Butcher said to Watson during Thursday’s meeting. “This is a good board (to work for). We have a difference in opinion sometimes, but a difference in opinion is good.”