Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Parish President Natalie Robottom announced today that Theresa Rodgers will serve as her Chief Administrative Officer beginning July 2, 2011. Rodgers will replace Marie Brown-Mercadel who is resigning her position effective July 1, 2011, as her husband, an active-duty member of the United States Marine Corps, has been transferred to San Diego, California, and Mercadel will relocate with him.
“Marie has done an excellent job as Chief Administrative Officer, serving admirably during a very difficult time in our parish’s history. Her leadership and guidance were instrumental in moving St. John forward. I wish her well and hope all citizens of St. John will join me in keeping her family in our prayers as her husband deploys to Afghanistan in the fall,” Robottom said. “I thank her for her service to St. John and her husband for his service to our nation.”
Rodgers has known and worked with Robottom on a variety of levels for more than 25 years. Both women completed Master’s degrees at Louisiana State University and served as special education administrators in public school systems. In addition to serving on several boards and panels together, Rodgers and Robottom share a passion for public service. “I am extremely pleased to have Mrs. Rodgers join our team and continue the progress we’ve made. She brings to our parish outstanding organizational and leadership skills. The groundwork for continued progress in St. John has been laid, the foundation is strong and this will be a very smooth transition,” Robottom said.
Rodgers brings a wealth of administrative and supervisory experience to the job of Chief Administrative Officer, having worked for the Ascension Parish School system for more than thirty-two years and as Supervisor of Special Education there for the last six years. She holds a master's degree in speech-language pathology as well as an Education Specialist's degree in Learning Disabilities from Louisiana State University. Rodgers has completed post-graduate work in administration and supervision at LSU and Southeastern Louisiana University.
Rodgers has been the direct supervisor for Ascension Parish school board employees and was responsible for annual evaluations as well as hundreds of formal observations and employee performance reviews. She has worked closely with coordinators, administrators, teachers, parents and other staff in ensuring that policies and procedures were followed, and the needs of students and staff met. Rodgers’ other responsibilities included securing funding, federal and state reporting, compliance and data management, personnel needs assessment and interviewing, workshop design and implementation.
Rodgers is the author of the Ascension Parish Policies and Procedures Manual for special education and has been involved in the development, writing, and implementation of numerous policy documents and handbooks. She has been a trainer for a national regulatory organization for twelve years and is a frequent presenter on the national, state and local levels. She has served on several Louisiana Department of Education task forces and monitoring teams, and has been a Technical Assistance provider and mentor for the Department.
A former president of several professional associations at the state and national level, Rodgers is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Council of State Boards of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. She has served five terms on the Louisiana licensure board for speech-language pathology and audiology including three years as chairman. Rodgers has received numerous honors and awards for her outstanding contributions to the profession.
She received the Louisiana Speech and Hearing Association’s Special Recognition Award for her legislative advocacy work which included authoring a bill mandating insurance reimbursement for children’s hearing aids. She was recently elected as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Vice-President of Government Relations and Public Policy representing more than 140,000 members on Capitol Hill, at the state level, and with various government agencies.