LPSB gives unified support for Northside turnaround

by Heather Miller

The Lafayette Parish School Board on Wednesday voted almost unanimously in favor of a drastic academic overhaul for Northside High School, marking a unity that's been absent from the board for the past nine months.

Northside High School is en route to major physical and administrative changes following Wednesday's Lafayette Parish School Board meeting, where the board voted 8-0 (Rae Trahan was absent) to fund more than $2 million in renovations and custodial changes at the school, also voting 7-1 in favor of replacing current administrators and adding new positions to turn around the failing high school.

Included in those changes are replacing acting Northside principal Yvonne Zeno with Melinda Voorhies and transferring Zeno back to her assistant principal position at Lafayette High. Voorhies is a retired school administrator who lives in Lafayette Parish and most recently served as a key administrator for Valley Park in East Baton Rouge Parish, where she was "instrumental" in turning the school's performance around, says Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Pat Cooper.

Board member Tommy Angelle was the lone no vote in approving the administrative changes, though he told The Daily Advertiser after the meeting that he cast the vote in error and meant to vote in support of the changes.

The community is invited to a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Northside High, where school system officials will discuss the details of the Northside turnaround plan and inform stakeholders on how they can help.