The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
When Johnny E. Brown stepped into the role of superintendent at the Port Arthur Independent School District in 2006, he inherited a district plagued by low test scores, overrun with disciplinary problems, and several facilities in dire need of renovation.
Brown announced his resignation as PAISD superintendent at the March 28 school board meeting, and he said he is leaving the district in much better shape than he found it. 2011 showed a discernible improvement in standardized testing — most notably science, from a 53 percent passing rate in 2005 to 70 percent in 2011.
“We performed at the recognized level in reading and writing, and exemplary in the area of social studies,” Brown said. “Our graduation rate has increased by about 21 percent from a few years ago, and our annual dropout rate has decreased significantly.”
PAISD students also appear better behaved, Brown said, as enrollment in the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program has seen a significant decline since Brown arrived from Georgia. New facilities have been built at Lee Elementary, Wheatley School of Early Childhood Programs, Booker T. Washington Elementary and Sgt. Lucian Adams Elementary, and Brown said the district has enjoyed a balanced budget every year of his tenure — despite statewide and federal budget cuts.
“Overall, it’s clear we’ve made progress,” Brown said. “Yet we know progress needs to continue for us to be able to declare that all our students are performing at the level we know they can perform.”
Initially Brown announced that his resignation would take effect at the end of his contract, on Sept. 30, 2014, but the board of trustees will hold a meeting Thursday, May 2, to reopen discussion on the matter.
“My family and I are considering other career options at this particular time, but nothing is definite beyond being superintendent at PAISD,” Brown said. “What I’m going to do is work cooperatively with the school board to talk about what is best for the district and what is best for our family as far as when we transition.”
Brown said the transitionary process is already underway at PAISD, and that he will do his best to ensure that process is a smooth one.
“I appreciate having had the opportunity to serve as superintendent of PAISD,” Brown said. “For whatever number of days that I remain, I will do all I can to continue to provide support for children to proceed successfully.”