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Panelist Bio

Paul Pastorek
Louisiana’s State Superintendent of Education

Paul Pastorek was appointed Louisiana's State Superintendent of Education in March 2007 by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). In January 2008, BESE re-appointed Mr. Pastorek to the position.

Mr. Pastorek served on the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from 1996-2004, including the last three years as President of the Board. On his departure from the Board, Louisiana was noted as having the best rated statewide Accountability program in the United States.

For the last 20 years, Mr. Pastorek has been working to improve public education in Louisiana. He started as a passionate volunteer in a New Orleans inner city junior high school. His experiences led him to study education issues and he began working through the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce to push for improvements. His work came to the attention of Governor Mike Foster who appointed him to BESE. After stepping down from the Board in 2004, Mr. Pastorek formed Next Horizon, a non-profit organization that serves as a statewide think tank to connect Louisiana's leadership – education, government, business and community – as a force supporting school improvement.

Mr. Pastorek is an attorney and was licensed by Louisiana to practice law in 1979. He joined the law firm of Adams and Reese, then a New Orleans based law firm. He has been associated with Adams and Reese for over 27 years, first as a litigator, and later a corporate and transactional attorney.

In February 2002, was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as General Counsel to NASA. He served as both the chief legal official for the agency and as a trusted advisor to then NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe. In addition, he served on and led several senior management and leadership committees, including leading the team that developed NASA's 2004 "transformational" reorganization plan. For his service at NASA, he received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal and NASA's Distinguished Service Medal. After two and half years of service, Mr. Pastorek left NASA to return to Adams and Reese.

Mr. Pastorek is a volunteer in his community; he has served on several boards, participated in many business groups and is the recipient of numerous awards and medals from various organizations and groups. He is married to Kathy Pastorek. They have three grown children, Ryan, Jeffrey and Kaitlin.

Current Topic

10/15 - Funding the Future: Early Childhood Opportunities

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

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!

11/15 - Living Below the Line

What is living in poverty like?

Recent Topics

09/15 - Agenda Louisiana

What issues will candidates face and where do they stand?

08/15 - Louisiana Post-Katrina: A Decade of Difference

What difference has a decade made?

07/15 - Symbol or Statement? History in Public Spaces

Is the display of Civil War statues in public justified or do they belong only in museums?

06/15 - Louisiana After Ferguson (Encore Presentation)

Who polices the police in Louisiana?

»»» View all Topics!
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