Fine brings experience


Meet your new leader

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Every child, no matter their race, gender or socioeconomic status, deserves the same opportunities for educational excellence. Unfortunately for Union Parish, this has proven to be a challenge and the school system has continued to fall below national and state averages. According to most school grading systems, the Union Parish School System is in the bottom 50 percent of public schools in Louisiana. Union Parish High School is a C-rated school, and the system is in severe fiscal distress. It has been clear for some time that a complete overhaul of the Union Parish School System would be necessary in order to provide the children of the parish with the educational opportunities and excellence they are entitled to.

On June 18, the Union Parish School Board made a huge step toward implementing that change when they voted in new District Superintendent, Kristy Auger-Fine.

Fine, the daughter of Sonny and Bettye Auger, grew up in Union Parish and is a product of the Union Parish School System. Her mother taught in the system for almost 30 years and Fine attended Farmerville Elementary, Middle, and High Schools. “I actually tutored throughout my high school years and knew that one day I would return to teach,” Fine said.

She earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Louisiana Tech University and immediately began teaching second grade at Farmerville Elementary School. While she was teaching, Fine earned a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Instruction with a focus in Educational Leadership.

She also earned her +30 certification by taking additional courses at Louisiana Tech and the Turnaround Specialist Program at University of Louisiana at Monroe. Fine taught at the elementary school for eight years, served as Director of Student Affairs for three years, served as school principal for seven years, and was Director of Federal Programs for three years. During this time she also earned her EDLE 3 Superintendent Certification.

Fine’s qualifications made her an obvious choice, however it is her experiences that will make her both effective and proactive as she works to make the needed and necessary changes to the Union Parish School System. “The experiences I have had during my tenure as a district supervisor and school administrator in Union Parish definitely characterize me as seasoned with a proven record in managing and organization,” Fine said, “these positions have given me the opportunity to lead in plant management, academic affairs, fiscal matters, human resource, and community relations; all of which empower me to lead the entire school district with confidence.” Fine’s role as Director of Federal Programs has familiarized her with local, state, and federal mandates and policies regarding academic and fiscal matters. All of the fiscal transactions of a school district must align with federal and state laws and are audited annually. Every single audit of programs un der Fine’s supervision have cleared with no findings.

Fine has a formidable task ahead of her in turning the Union Parish education system around and pointing it in a positive direction. However, Fine is not intimidated. She plans to meet the challenges of her new position head on. While she has many tasks ahead of her, she has three main goals to begin her tenure. Her first goal is to gain the trust of Union Parish citizens by carrying out her duties with integrity. “The community needs to know I am here to serve them by leading our educational system with honesty and fairness,” Fine stated.

Her second main goal is to use her personal philosophy of stewardship and professionalism to establish and maintain responsible fiscal practices that will lead to financial soundness and trustworthiness.

Her third goal is perhaps the most important as she will set high expectations of administrators, teachers, students and parents. “Our students deserve to be exposed to an equitable education that celebrates diversity and encourages every single one to set high goals that will lead to academic and lifelong success,” Fine said.

Fine is definitely excited about continuing her service to the Union Parish community. She has spent her whole working career serving the people and students of Union Parish and welcomes the new challenges and diversity of her new role. “Union Parish is my home and the folks who live here hold a special place in my heart,” Fine said, “We have a strong sense of community and mutual respect. I love Union Parish and am thankful for the opportunity to serve them as superintendent.”

The board hired a qualified candidate who also happens to be a Union Parish native. She knows the area, the community, the people, and the education system. Fine looks back over her years and cherishes each and every memory. “My students, coworkers, and I have shared so many ups and downs, joys and sorrows and laughter and tears,” Fine said. “I have never given birth to a child,” Fine continued, “but my heart is full of sweet memories of students. They gave me the opportunity to be a mom by opening their hearts and lives up to me. I’ve attended baptisms, dance recitals, church programs and ball games. I’ve counseled, disciplined, and even shared my faith when needed.”

With her leadership style focusing on transformation and service, Fine will surely be a positive and energizing force within the Union Parish School System. She has proven through her service that she will work diligently to lead and help others achieve their goals. “My goal as superintendent of Union Parish Schools is to lead by example. My team of administrators, educators, students, and parents will become inspired to improve our school culture and overall performance,” Fine stated.

Without a doubt Fine’s innovative, transformational, and service oriented approach to leadership will have a positive and inspirational affect on her district.

Knowing that Fine has her students’ success as her main priority should encourage both teachers and stu dents as they begin what will undoubtedly be a challenging school year dealing with COVID-19 and all the precautions and changes that will bring. “The passion I have for my students is unprecedented,” Fine said, “I want them to be successful in and out of the classroom. The passion I have for these students will be at the forefront of every decision I make for the betterment of Union Parish Schools.”