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.
How well is the state’s public school system really performing?
One national survey ranks Louisiana as 49th for academic achievement of public school students. Another national report ranks the state dead last. So, how well is the state’s public school system really performing? Where is there room for improvement? What will the new federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” mean for education in Louisiana? And how have the historic summer floods changed things? Louisiana Public Square explores these issues and more on “Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” Wednesday, September 28 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD and in New Orleans on WLAE.
The panelists are
• Superintendent Michael Faulk, Central Community School System
• James D. Garvey, Jr. , BESE Board President
• Scott Richard, Executive Director, Louisiana School Boards Association
• Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith, D- Baton Rouge; House Education Committee
LPB CEO Beth Courtney and LSU Manship School of Mass Communication professor Robert Mann host the show. The program features interviews with Louisiana Education State Superintendent John White; Debbie Meaux, President of the Louisiana Association of Educators; Brigitte Nieland with the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Caddo Parish School Superintendent Dr. Theodis Lamar Goree.
“Pass or Fail? Louisiana’s Education System” can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.
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