story and photos by staff reporter Nora Drenner
The Natchitoches Parish School Board has named Gant Eloi its next superintendent of schools. He replaces Dale Skinner who retires in June. Eloi is currently regional coordinator for Special Schools in Pineville, La., a position he has held since 2015.
The selection of Eloi followed a search that produced 14 applicants from diverse geographic and professional backgrounds. All 14 were interviewed and the list was narrowed to five. A meet and greet with the five finalists was held over a two-day period to allow the public to ask questions of each candidate.
Eloi will complete the doctorate program on Educational Leadership from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in May. He earned his Master‘s Degree in Educational Leadership at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, and Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education Social Studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
Throughout the interview process, Eloi expressed his passion for education and said he believes great things happen when students are challenged. “When you believe all students can learn,” said Eli during his interview on March 11, “and you are doing things in the classroom to make that happen, it works.”
After being chosen, Eloi thanked the board and said he was humbled by their selection. “I know this is a great responsibility you are bestowing upon me and I don’t take it lightly,” said Eloi. “I look forward to working with you all.”
The selection of Eloi was not a unanimous decision. Giving the nod to Eloi were board members Reba Phelps, Beverly Broadway, Katrina Willis, Rhonda Guidroz, Billy Benefield, Russell Danzy, Tan’Keia Palmer and Eugene Garner.
Board members Emile Metoyer, Steven Harris and Dorothy McGaskey had chosen Jesse Winston among the finalists. Other finalists were Dr. Michael Robinson, Dr. Curtis Green and Brandy Branigan Lawrence.
The board will now enter into contract negotiations with Eloi.