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Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Dr. Gary L. Jones
Rapides Parish School Superintendent

Dr. Gary L. Jones is a consummate educator who exemplifies professionalism, academic excellence, and humor in his daily work. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Louisiana in Monroe, graduating with honors. He received double Master’s Degrees in Administration and Supervision from the University of Louisiana in Monroe, and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He was awarded his doctorate from the University of Louisiana-Monroe in Educational Leadership.

His previous experience includes Teacher of History and English, Junior and Senior High Coach, Junior and Senior High Assistant Principal, Elementary Principal, Director of Child Welfare, Director of Secondary Education, Director of Maintenance and Transportation, Assistant Superintendent, and Superintendent of Schools in Claiborne Parish. He is presently a member of the Louisiana Department of Education’s Parish Superintendents’ Advisory Council (PSAC), the Virtual Education Study Group, the Student-Based Budgeting Task Force, the LSUE Board of Advisors, and the Alexandria Recreational and Education Programs Commission. During the 2009-10 school session, Dr. Jones served as President of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents (LASS).

Dr. Jones served in the military for 37 years, active and reserve. He began at the lowest rank and retired as a Brigadier General from the LA National Guard in 2006. He is married to the former Sarah Wheeler and has two sons and three grandchildren. He and Sarah reside in Rapides Parish.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square 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.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

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     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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