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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


02/16 - Effects of Expansion: Medicaid in Louisiana

How will the lives of those who now have access to health care change?

Special Presentation


12/15 - Election 2015: An Analysis

What strategies did each of the major candidates use during the Governor's race?

Special Presentation


Breaking Away:  A Louisiana Public Square Special Presentation

Would the breakaway City of St. George quash Baton Rouge’s school desegregation progress?

Coming Soon!


03/16 - Justice on Hold: Louisiana’s Public Defender Shortage

How serious of a problem is the shortage of public defenders in Louisiana?

Recent Topics


01/16 - Police POV: Body Cameras in Louisiana

What happens when police and the people they arrest have different versions of their encounters?


11/15 - Living Below the Line

What is living in poverty like?


10/15 - Funding the Future: Early Childhood Opportunities

How can improving early childhood programs improve the state’s educational outcomes, workforce, and economics?


09/15 - Agenda Louisiana

What issues will candidates face and where do they stand?

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