Louisiana Education Superintendent to address graduates Dec. 8
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND – Louisiana State Superintendent of Education Paul G. Pastorek will address Southeastern Louisiana University graduates at the university’s commencement on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Southeastern will confer associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees on more than 1,250 students at the 10 a.m. ceremony in the University Center.
The commencement ceremony will feature the introduction of this year’s class of “Golden Graduates,” members of the Class of 1957 and previous years, who will lead the new graduates into the University Center dressed in golden academic regalia. The Golden Graduate tradition was initiated in the December 1998 commencement ceremony.
Pastorek was appointed to the position in March 2007 after the death of long time superintendent Cecil J. Picard. In his position, he is responsible for recommending and implementing public education policy for 70 local school districts, comprised of more than 1,400 schools and serving approximately 650,000 students.
An attorney with the law firm of Adams and Reese for 27 years, Pastorek has been involved in efforts to improve public education for the last 20 years, starting as a volunteer in a New Orleans public junior high school. His work came to the attention of Gov. Mike Foster who appointed him to serve on Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) where he later became president of the board. He played an instrumental role in establishing Louisiana’s national recognized Accountability and Testing Program. After stepping down from BESE in 2004, he formed Next Horizon, a non-profit foundation focused on creating a statewide think tank to support the Department of Education in developing various strategies to improve public education.
In 2002, Pastorek was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as general counsel to NASA. There he served on and led several senior management committees and headed the team that developed NASA’s transformational reorganization plan announced in 2004. For his service, he was awarded NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal.
Pastorek holds a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University and a juris doctorate from Loyola University School of Law. He has served as chairman of the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce Area Council Executive Committee, a member of the Chamber of Greater Baton Rouge Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center in New Orleans. His honors include the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Award for Service to the Community of New Orleans, the Young Leadership Council’s Role Model Award, and the New Orleans Regional Chamber of Commerce Joseph W. Simon Jr. Memorial Award.