Cecil Picard became La.ís State Superintendent of Education in 1996. His priorities as Superintendent center on early childhood education, K-3 reading skills, improving student performance through school and district accountability, alternative programs for students with discipline problems, technology, and collaboration with colleges and universities to improve teacher preparation programs. Picard was a member of the La. Legislature for 20 years, retiring from the state senate in 1996. He was a member of the La. National Guard, 156th Infantry, Medical Unit from 1954-1960. Picard is a French speaking native of Vermillion Parish.