A Grambling State University professor is getting a chance to make his mark on Louisiana education.
Governor John Bel Edwards appointed Lurie Thomason Jr., an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).
Thomason was sworn in as a member of BESE on Tuesday, January 12.
“I always wanted to be a secondary or elementary school teacher, and I guess this is just affirmation from God that I need to work in that area,” Thomason said.
“I have been in higher education, but my heart has always been with the secondary and elementary school teachers.”
BESE is an 11-member panel that sets policies for about 720,000 public school students in Louisiana, including academic standards, teacher evaluations and grades.
Thomason is excited to explore issues to help the students in Louisiana.
“We want to look at educating historically disadvantaged students better in the public schools, look at finding more scholarships for needy students, programs that can get parents more involved in secondary and elementary education in a positive manner,” said Thomason.
“Creating some tutorial programs that can supplement what students are learning in school and help them do their homework, and looking at the curriculum and making sure that it is tailored to the needs of the 21st century,” he said.
As a veteran educator with 25 years of experience in higher education, Thomason is also dedicated to ensuring that Louisiana’s students are prepared for higher education.
“The board sets the curriculum to evaluate student readiness for college,” he said.
“From the standpoint of being able to contribute to make sure students are ready for college, I am very enthralled to be on the board, because we want to make sure students are prepared to come to Grambling and other colleges and universities.”
Thomason joined Grambling State University in 1995.
Over the years, he has taught and advised students, provided services to the university and established student development programs.
He has served as the acting director of Judicial Affairs, where he presided over hearings related to student misconduct, revised policy and procedures and developed appropriate sanctions for student code violations.