Retiring Assistant Superintendent Joe Craig isn’t pausing as he moves from a 30-year career in education to a new one with the state Department of Agriculture.
“I’m taking two days off,” he said. “I’m taking off Saturday and Sunday.”
Craig, who has served in the school system’s central office for the last several years of his career, said he had promised to work through Superintendent Don Aguillard’s tenure, but now it’s time for a change.
“A lifetime ago, I got a degree in animal science, and I ended up being a science teacher,” Craig said. “With Dr. Aguillard retiring, I thought here’s a good time to try something else.”
Aguillard said Craig will be “sorely missed.”
“Bringing Joe on four years ago was crucial to my success in the district,” said Superintendent Don Aguillard. “He has served this district well, with honor and dignity. He returned literally every phone call, and he was closely involved in transportation as we went through the transitions of satellites and rezoning, as well as dealing day to day with the principals and the needs ever so present everyday in the whole administration.”
Prior to working in the central office at various supervisory positions, Craig was principal of Comeaux High School for many years, assistant principal at Acadiana High, and a teacher at Paul Breaux Middle.
Aguillard said he met Craig nearly 30 years ago, when Craig was working on his administrative credentials and Aguillard was principal of summer school.
“He interned with me, and I knew right away that he had the disposition, intellect, character and poise to be an effective administrator,” Aguillard said.
Throughout Craig’s career, Aguillard said, he has lived up to that promise.
“I just knew he was the kind of person who could be levelheaded about helping the school system to solve problems,” Aguillard said. “He’s the kind of person you would want leading every school in the system.”
Craig will say goodbye to his LPSS co-workers on Friday, and start work with the ag department on monday, checking compliance with USDA regulations in processing plants in the area.
“It’s just something completely different,” he said. “It was a pleasure working for Dr. Aguillard and implementing his vision for the district.”
Craig said he’s proud of a lot of what the district has accomplished.
“Without raising taxes, we got a lot of construction done in the parish. To be a part of that, it was a pleasure and a privilege,” Craig said.
Craig said he will miss a lot of his co-workers, some of whom he’s worked with for decades, some he’s “known for almost a whole career.”
“We had a lot of challenges in transportation, and those ladies work tirelessly to make sure the kids have transportation,” he said. “The public doesn’t necessarily see that, but they need to know the staff really is committed to providing good transportation for the kids.”
Craig said he’s enjoyed working with the staff and principals at LPSS. Craig said he got to know each principal in the district.
“I’d like to say they were comfortable calling me if they had concerns. I like to work toward anything i could do to assist them in them in their schools,” he said.
Craig said he hopes to be working for many more years.
“As long as I’ve got my health, I’m way too ADD to sit around,” Craig said. “I’m going to be working a long time, with a little luck.”