The two candidates who applied for Webster Parish Schools’ top position both say they want to give back to education.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Johnny Rowland Jr. and Byron Lyons, of East Cleveland, Ohio have applied for the job, and both have long careers in education.

Byron Lyons

Lyons currently serves as director of human resources for East Cleveland City Schools. He began his teaching career at Farmerville High School in 1993 teaching civics and free enterprise.

He has a Ph.D. in education leadership from Concordia University he received in July 2014. He holds a BBA in accounting from Texas Southern University, a master’s degree in elementary education and administration and a Ph.D. in education leadership.

His teaching career spans eight years, holding positions as assistant principal, instructor and football coach at Grambling Middle Magnet School and Grambling High School. Teaching psychology and sociology at Buena Vista High School in Saginaw, Michigan, he also held positions at the school as football coach, administrative assistant and tutorial coordinator.

He is certified to hold the superintendent’s position in Ohio and has received his Out of State Superintendent’s Certificate from the Louisiana Department of Education. He holds a total of 16 years of administrative experience.

In his application, he said he believes his experiences, education and mentors have “shaped his approach” in his career.

“I pride myself in being a change agent,” he wrote, “and my strength has always been my ability to create systems that sustain academic growth. This includes the
ability to access [sic] a situation and then establish, communicate, and implement the vision and goals to reach the desired academic attainment.”

Lyons, educated in Lincoln Parish, said he considers north Louisiana home and wants to “give back to the state that has done so much for me.”

“Home is where the heart is, and throughout my journey, my heart has always been in northern Louisiana,” he writes. “I would like the opportunity to return home and give back.”

Johnny Rowland Jr.

Rowland

Rowland is a product of Webster Parish Schools and has spent most of his career in Webster Parish Schools.

Graduating from Sibley High School in 1986, he received his associate of arts degree from East Central Community College in Decatur, Mississippi. He earned his bachelor of arts degree and masters of education in secondary social studies from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and received his Plus 30 graduate hours in educational leadership from Centenary College in Shreveport.

He holds a lifetime teaching certificate from LDOE and is eligible for certification as a superintendent if he is hired to “serve as assistant superintendent or superintendent,” according to his certificate.

Rowland serves as the personnel director and middle school supervisor for Webster Parish. He has served as principal of Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School, Doyline High School and as a social studies teacher and coach at Lakeside, Minden High School and Glenbrook School.

In his application, he writes that he is proud that most of his professional career has been in Webster Parish and has a vested interest in the success of the school system because his daughter recently graduated from MHS.

If he is chosen as the next superintendent, he writes, he would work to ensure the system remains responsible and fiscally sound.

“I would also work with all stakeholders to move in a direction of one common goal: significant gains in student achievement,” he wrote. “I have a clear understanding of the role of school board members in making policy and the role of superintendent to work with central office staff, principals, teachers and support personnel to implement board policy.”

He goes on to write that his experience as a school principal allowed him to provide safe environments that are conducive to learning. During those years, each school he served as principal showed significant academic growth, he wrote.

“The knowledge gleaned from the various roles I have been blessed to receive over the last 25 years has prepared me for this wonderful opportunity,” he said. “As superintendent, I would welcome the chance to make a difference in this system we all value so much.”

A personnel meeting will be at 5 p.m., Monday so board members can review the two applications. A finance committee meeting will follow.

Interviews for both candidates will be the week of June 19-23, and a special board meeting will be June 26 to name a new superintendent.