Preparing for the 2020-2021 school year, seven veteran professionals are beginning their new roles today in efforts to support students and staff.
The group includes familiar faces and newcomers, and continues to reflect the district’s new style of school system operations which requires innovative and out-of-the-box visioning. None of the positions, however, are new. Instead, the leadership opportunities were all created through existing positions as staff retired in recent months.
“This team represents the best of our internal talent along with strong local talent from outside of the organization,” Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools, said. “In every case, I’ve seen these individuals’ capacity firsthand and am excited about the direction of how our work together can prepare every child for the future of their dreams.”
The team selected reflects the district’s focus on equity in education and continuous improvement in student achievement.
Leisa Woolfolk, Chief Human Resource Officer
There are few individuals who are more synonymous with Caddo Schools than Leisa Woolfolk.
Woolfolk began her tenure in Caddo in 1980 as a classroom teacher at North Highlands Elementary. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, Woolfolk worked diligently as a teacher while also studying to obtain her masters in guidance and counseling. Her motivation was simple: to give a voice to students who felt unheard and voiceless while creating a safe, loving school environment for students, staff and families.
In 1985, Woolfolk was selected to serve in her first administrative role as a coordinator at the newly built Turner Elementary Middle/School. Never losing her hunger to grow in her profession, Woolfolk rose through the ranks to become the Turner’s assistant principal, a position she held for four years.
In the years that followed, Woolfolk became principal of Hillsdale Elementary and Judson Elementary Magnet. The positions presented unique challenges which stretched Woolfolk and forced her beyond her comfort zone. In addition to shaping school academic outcomes and student opportunities, she also walked the neighborhood and kept gang members from recruiting her students or stepping foot on her school grounds. She fervently believed the school environment should be a sacred space for students to learn and feel safe – even if it meant she had to patrol the area herself.
That fiery spirit continues to set Woolfolk apart from the rest. Since 2000, she has served as an Executive Director of School Performance for Elementary and Middle Schools. In the role, she tapped into her natural abilities to guide and support principals to improve their schools. She has since become known as one of the foremost regional experts on principal training.
In her role as Chief Human Resource Officer, Woolfolk will bring her determination and steadfast nature to the Human Resources Division. There her role will include recruiting, retaining and evaluating all personnel to ensure the best staff members are employed to support Caddo’s students.
Patrick Greer, Chief Operations Officer
With a proven record of transformation, Patrick Greer brings to the position of Chief Operating Officer 27 years of experience in strategic management and school leadership. A graduate of Centenary College, Greer’s experience in Caddo began in 1994 with his work as a classroom teacher at Linwood Middle School.
In his first years in the classroom, Greer garnered attention for his engaging lessons and ability to connect with students and families alike. By 1998, Greer sought to serve additional families and earned his master’s of education. From there he entered his first school leadership assignment as an assistant principal at J.S. Clark Middle School.
His experience at J.S. Clark laid the foundation for his future and exemplified much of Greer’s spirit and tenacity. In his 10 years as an assistant principal at J.S. Clark, Greer studied and honed his abilities while working to create a safe, supportive school environment. However, Greer’s greatest talents would be realized when he became the school’s principal in 2008. By that time, then Superintendent Dr. Gerald Dawkins was in the process of creating a plan to turnaround low-performing schools. In 2009, J.S. Clark was reopened as a micro-society campus. This unique format allowed students to flourish through real-world scenarios and critical thinking and in 2011 the school shed its underperforming status.
Known for his ability to change outcomes for students, Greer was tapped in 2011 to once again turnaround a campus – this time historic Booker T. Washington High School. Within two years, he led BTW to exit failing status after more than a decade of low results.
While excited for the challenges of school turnaround, Greer decided to take on districtwide athletics and physical education as Caddo’s supervisor of health, athletics, physical education and drivers’ education. The position allowed Greer to develop a holistic view of districtwide operations and functions. In just over a year, however, he wanted to take the skills he learned in the supervisor position and put them into practice as the district’s Director of Curriculum. The role provided him opportunities to understand the intricacies of prekindergarten through 12th grade curriculum and the diverse needs of students across the district.
In 2016, Greer sought to connect with students and staff once more at the campus level. As an Executive Director of School Performance, he oversaw middle, K-8 and alternative schools. His broad experience allowed him an innate ability to distinguish individual student needs and work with staff to foster student achievement.
As Caddo’s Chief Operations Officer, Greer will be responsible for the functions and supports of the district including transportation, construction and capital projects, maintenance, child nutrition, attendance and information technology. It’s a position for which he has spent the last 27 years preparing.
Julia Smith O’Neal, Executive Director of School Performance
As the former bright and bold principal of Walnut Hill, Julia Smith O’Neal is taking her talents to elementary and K-8 schools across Caddo Parish.
Smith O’Neal has 24 years of experience in education with 22 of those years in Caddo Parish. Her first role in the district was as a classroom teacher at J.S. Clark – working alongside Greer. In that environment, she quickly learned the essentials of school turnaround and perfected her craft. By 2004, she was picked by Walnut Hill’s longtime principal Albert Hardison to serve as the school’s assistant principal.
After 10 years in the position, Smith O’Neal accepted her first principal position at Oak Park Elementary/Middle where she was tasked with creating a model for the first years of the Transformation Zone. In 2017, following Hardison’s retirement, Smith O’Neal was called back home to Walnut Hill where she has served as principal since.
As an Executive Director of School Performance, Smith O’Neal will be responsible for overseeing elementary and K-8 schools and their work to support students and families.
Jenifer Guerrero, Executive Director of School Performance
Tenacious and determined, Jenifer Guerrero knows what it takes to improve student performance.
With 20 years of experience in education in Texas and Louisiana, Guerrero has extensive experience as a teacher and administrator. Originally her path wasn’t clear-cut to education as she graduated with a bachelor’s in biology from Louisiana Tech University, however, she quickly found her footing as a science teacher in Pasadena, Texas. After six years in the classroom which earned her recognition as the science department head and as a mentor teacher, Guerrero moved into administration as an assistant principal at Alvin High School in Alvin, Texas where she served for the next seven years.
In 2012, Guerrero moved to Caddo as an assistant principal at Ridgewood Middle School. By 2014, Guerrero accepted the opportunity to work under Dr. Sandra McCalla as an assistant principal at Captain Shreve High School. The move allowed Guerrero to plan Captain Shreve’s instructional training for teachers and staff and create credit recovery programs for students.
Connecting with the south Shreveport community, Guerrero was named principal of Youree Drive Middle School in 2015. Under her leadership, the school saw continuous gains in student performance and earned local, state and national accolades for innovation in instruction.
Guerrero will serve as an Executive Director of School Performance working with elementary, middle and alternative schools.
Emily Stanford, Director of Certified Personnel
A winner of the coveted Milken Award, Emily Stanford knows what sets a good educator apart from a life-changing one. In her role as Director of Certified Personnel, Stanford is responsible for ensuring the district has the highest quality educators in each Caddo classroom.
A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, Stanford began her career in Caddo in 1993 as a teacher at Ingersoll Elementary before moving to Shreve Island Elementary. The campus quickly became her home as she rose through the ranks from classroom teacher to instructional coordinator and, ultimately, principal in 2005. During her tenure as principal, Stanford implemented concepts which put Shreve Island on the map such as The Leader in Me program and intensive review of student-specific data to define areas for targeted academic improvements.
In 2008, Stanford moved to the Human Resources Division of Caddo Schools where she served as the elementary school staffing administrator. Her role tasked her with working with principals to effectively staff elementary grade levels and onboarding all new elementary teachers.
Her position as Director of Certified Personnel will charge Stanford with evaluating job satisfaction for educators and increasing the number of teachers hired annually for district classrooms.
James Kennedy, Director of Classified Personnel
An avid traveler and lover of history, James Kennedy thrives off of facts and figures.
A graduate of Northwestern State University, Kennedy began his career in Caddo in 1995 as a history teacher at C.E. Byrd High. Even in his first years in the classroom, Kennedy was ahead of his time in using student-specific data to set long-term goals and track successes and declines.
After 10 years as a classroom teacher, Kennedy’s attention to detail and ability to recite district and state policies and guidelines garnered him a position as an instructional specialist in Caddo’s gifted education program. The position focused Kennedy’s efforts on writing individual education plans for students and supporting teachers to develop lessons to meet students’ full potential.
By 2007, Kennedy sought to challenge himself and moved into the position of personnel administrator in Caddo’s Human Resources Division. In the role, Kennedy worked with middle and high schools to effectively staff classrooms with high-quality teachers. He also took on the task of serving as the district’s teacher certification specialist, working hand-in-hand with educators and state officials to ensure all teacher certifications were up-to-date and accurate.
As Director of Classified Personnel, Kennedy will now oversee the recruitment, retention and evaluation of all support staff members.
Lynn Hooper, Director of Insurance
Lynn Hooper has been preparing for her new role throughout her career.
Caddo’s new Director of Insurance has spent the last 15 years working in the insurance industry. From directing the human resources and operational sides of the insurance business, she has a wealth of knowledge in insurance and the critical component it plays in for an organization. Of note, having worked in the human resources functions as well as the budgeting areas, she intricately understands the importance of a quality insurance plan to recruit staff members while also supporting current and retired employees.
A graduate of Louisiana State University Shreveport, Hooper served from 2005 to 2020 at Kilpatrick Life Insurance and previously served at SCI General Contractors as a contract manager.
As Director of Insurance, Hooper will serve as the district’s contact for its vast insurance portfolio and work to support the more than 11,000 members who currently use Caddo’s insurance.