Paul Pastorek

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Paul G. Pastorek
Louisiana Superintendent of Education
In office
March 2007 – May 2011
Preceded by Cecil J. Picard
Succeeded by Ollie Tyler (interim)
Personal details
Born June 1954
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Spouse(s) Kathleen "Kathy" S. Pastorek
Children

Ryan Paul Pastorek
Jeffrey Thomas Pastorek

Kaitlin Pastorek
Residence

Former: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Current: Ashburn
Loudoun County, Virginia
Alma mater

De La Salle High School
Loyola University New Orleans

Loyola University New Orleans College of Law
Occupation

Lawyer

Education and defense specialist

Paul G. Pastorek (born June 1954) is a lawyer in Loudoun County, Virginia, who was from 2007 to 2011 the Louisiana state superintendent of education, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was appointed superintendent by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), of which he had been one of three appointed members from 1996 to 2004. BESE sets and monitors state education policy.


Background[edit]

Pastorek was born and reared in New Orleans,[1] from which he graduated from De La Salle High School and Loyola University. He then received his Juris Doctor from the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and was admitted to the Louisiana state bar in 1979.[2]

Pastorek had a long-term association with the law firm Adams and Reese, based in the New Orleans office of the firm.[3] From 2002 to 2004, he was the general counsel to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a position to which he was appointed by U.S. President George W. Bush. At NASA, he was an advisor to the then administrator, Sean O'Keefe. In 2004, Pastorek was instrumental in directing the team which developed NASA's reorganization plan. There he received NASA's Exceptional Achievement and Distinguished Service medals.[4]In 2004, he left NASA and formed Next Horizon, a statewide non-profit organization and think tank on educational issues based in Baton Rouge.[5]

He and his wife, Kathleen S. Pastorek, who reside in Ashburn, Virginia, have three grown children, Ryan Paul Pastorek, Jeffrey Thomas Pastorek, and Kaitlin Pastorek.[2]


Educational matters[edit]

Pastorek was appointed in 1996 to BESE - eight other members are elected by districts - by the incoming Republican Governor Mike Foster.[4] From 2001 to 2004, Pastorek was the BESE president, chosen by his ten colleagues.[5]

As education superintendent, Pastorek worked to establish more charter schools, to increase private funding in education, and to strengthen school accountability with the goal of a reduced dropout rate and greater academic achievement. The Louisiana State Legislature in 2003 created the Recovery School District to assume control of those schools deemed academic failures for four consecutive years. In New Orleans, 107 of the worst-performing public schools were placed under the RSD umbrella in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Pastorek drew criticism for his educational reforms from local school boards, state legislators, and teacher's unions, many of whom claimed that he lacked interest in their concerns about educational policies.[6]

Pastorek resigned as superintendent to become chief counsel and corporate secretary for EADS North America (the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company), since renamed Airbus Group, Inc. The defense contractor firm is headed by Sean O'Keefe, the former chancellor of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and the former NASA director, with whom Pastorek had earlier been a colleague. EADS headquarters are outside Washington, D.C., in Herndon, Virginia, with a second location in Ashburn in Loudoun County, where Pastorek resides.[6]

In 2013, Pastorek came to the defense of later superintendent John C. White, who is implementing the Common Core program in Louisiana despite reservations from various groups who fear federal intervention. At a conference in Washington, D.C., Pastorek said that the plan was originally proposed by state superintendents from across the nation, not by the United States Department of Education. Common Core, he said, is not a matter of indoctrination of school children in liberal politics but in establishing needed standards and achievement.[7]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Cecil J. Picard
Louisiana State Superintendent of Education

Paul G. Pastorek
2007–2011

Succeeded by
Ollie Tyler (interim)