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Panelist Bio


Cecil J. Picard
State Superintendent of Education

Cecil J. Picard became Louisiana's State Superintendent of Education in July 1996. His priorities center on early childhood education, K-3 reading skills, improving student performance through school and district accountability, alternative programs for students with discipline problems, technology, and collaboration with colleges and universities to improve teacher preparation programs.

He has worked closely with the Governor and the Legislature to develop and implement a nationally-recognized accountability system, and has recently formed a multi-state Early Childhood Education compact targeted to serve at-risk four-year olds.

Before assuming his present position, State Superintendent Picard served as a teacher, coach, and school principal in the public schools for more than 20 years. He was a member of the Louisiana Legislature for 20 years, retiring from the State Senate in 1996.

Picard’s leadership has been recognized at the state and national levels. Last year, the National Governor’s Association and ZERO TO THREE chose him as one of only 14 “fellows” nationwide in the first class of the State Early Childhood Policy Leadership Forum. He also accepted a post on the executive committee of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which advises 16 southern states on education policy. Picard was a 2001 Outstanding Alumnus at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.

Current Topic


     02/17 - Black & the Blue

What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve?
Last year’s shooting of an African-American male in Baton Rouge by two white police officers re-ignited a national debate on how law enforcement interacts with minority communities. Nationwide demonstrations were ultimately marred by the targeted ambush of 12 white officers in Dallas and the killing of three members of law enforcement in Baton Rouge. What can be done to improve trust among the police and the public they serve? How can Louisiana’s Capital City productively move beyond these events? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on a special town hall edition, “Black & the Blue” Wednesday, February 22 at 7pm; Sunday, February 26 at 1pm and Tuesday, February 28 at 10pm after the State of the Union address on LPB HD. In New Orleans on WLAE, Wednesday, February 22 at 7 PM. (Recorded Monday, February 20)

Our panelists will be:
• Fr. Rick Andrus, St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Together BR
• Darrell Basco, state president of Fraternal Order of Police
• Sharon Weston Broome, Mayor-President of Baton Rouge
• Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge; Public Safety Task Force
• Stephanie Riegel; Greater Baton Rouge Business Report

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Reverend Raymond Jetson, pastor of Star Hill Church host the program. Robyn Merrick with the Southern University System and Bob Mann with LSU’s Manship School will moderate the discussion.
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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     03/17 - Fiscal Reform 2017

Is it time to reform Louisiana’s tax code?

Recent Topics


     01/17 - Healthy New Year!

What is the best approach to shedding pounds in a state where cuisine is part of its culture?

     12/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home (Encore Presentation)

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

     11/16- Beyond the Flood

What lessons did residents and state officials learn from this historic event and what challenges remain?

     10/16 - Election 2016

What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?
»»» View all Topics!
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Monday, February 27, 2017
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