Press Releases

January 5, 2024

Governor-Elect Jeff Landry Announces Secretary of DOTD & BESE Members

Lafayette, La­– Today, Governor-elect Jeff Landry announced Terrence (Joe) Donahue, Jr. will serve as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and Simone Champagne, Judy Armstrong, and Conrad Appel will serve as members of the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE).

Secretary of DOTD: Joe Donahue

BESE Member: Judy Armstrong

BESE Member: Simone Champagne

BESE Member: Conrad Appel

“We all know Louisiana’s roads and education are not what they should be. I am confident that today’s appointments to DOTD and BESE will help improve our state and put Louisiana on a path to success,” said Jeff Landry.

“I am deeply honored by the trust Governor-elect Landry has placed in me as the incoming Secretary of DOTD.  As Secretary, I will do my utmost to confront Louisiana’s transportation and infrastructure challenges head-on and I am excited and optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead,” said Joe Donahue.

“I am honored and humbled to be appointed by Governor-elect Landry to serve on the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. I strive to serve others, personally and professionally, and this is an incredible opportunity to do so. I look forward to working collaboratively with Governor Landry, Louisiana Department of Education, and other BESE members on efforts that support the advancement of education for our students, teachers, and administrators,” said Judy Armstrong. 

“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity Gov. Elect Landry has given me to serve as an appointed member of BESE.  I believe all children deserve a quality education and implementing great policy is key!  I look forward to working with our Governor, Legislators and all stakeholders to ensure quality education is a priority,” said Simone Champagne.

“It’s been said so many times in the past by so many well-intentioned leaders that education is the most important thing that the state can do. But have we really meant it? Louisiana’s education outcomes make clear that we haven’t undertaken, or worse haven’t understood, what is necessary to fulfill that goal. There are three fundamentals that if applied with a focus on outcomes for children, not adults, offer a path to different results, high standards, accountability, and parental choice. When these are applied with vigor and consistency Louisiana will, over time, join the growing southern states and reverse the tide of out migration of our best and brightest,” said Conrad Appel. 



Secretary of DOTD: Terrence (Joe) Donahue

Terrence (Joe) Donahue, Jr. is a life-long resident of Baton Rouge and recently served as the Assistant Attorney General responsible for the Louisiana Department of Justice’s Occupational Licensing Review Program.  He began his career in public service in 2004 at the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality before leaving to attend law school.  After maintaining a private practice for nearly a decade, litigating in state and federal trials and appellate courts across the country, Donahue returned to state service as an attorney for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, where he held positions in both the Office of General Counsel and the Office of the Secretary.  Donahue received both his undergraduate degree and law degree from Louisiana State University.    


Member of BESE: Judy Armstrong

Dr. Judy Armstrong was born and raised in Alexandria, Louisiana. She began her educational career teaching high school and college biology and math. She has extensive experience in K – 12 school and district administration as Diocese of Baton Rouge Assistant Superintendent, St. Joseph Academy Academic Associate Principal, St. Thomas More Catholic School Principal, and Ursuline Academy Principal and Curriculum and Assessment Administrator. Her Louisiana Department of Education leadership experiences include supervisor of secondary education, program manager for research, and regional service director for twelve parishes in Louisiana with a primary focus on school improvement opportunities for students, teachers, and administrators. She serves as a Consultant for School Improvement to support schools in the analysis and alignment of curriculum with mission effectiveness, student performance measures, and state and national standards. Dr. Armstrong holds a B.S. degree from Louisiana College in Biology and Math, M. Ed. from Louisiana State University in Supervision and Administration, Ph.D. from Louisiana State University in Educational Administration and Business Management, and a Master of Religious Education from Loyola University. 


Member of BESE: Simone Champagne

Simone has over 46 years of Private and Public Sector experience as well as volunteerism. She served for 26 years in the banking sector as an operations officer and two decades in public service. She was the first and only woman thus far to hold the State Representative District 49 seat.  She also served on the St. Joseph Elementary School Board and the Acadiana Renaissance Academy School Board. Simone has many years of volunteerism serving on the local and state level, including numerous Chambers of Commerce, schools, coaching softball, and serving on many non-profits. Simone has been married to Gary for 52 years. They have 5 grown children and 9 grandchildren.


Member of BESE: Conrad Appel

Senator Appel was elected to the Louisiana Senate in 2008. From 2012 until 2015 Senator Conrad Appel was Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education. He also served on the Finance, Commerce, Retirement, Judiciary A, and Environmental Quality Committees of the Senate. Prior to his political career, he had served as Chairman of many public and civic organizations.  He has also appeared as a speaker at several national education events. For more than forty years Senator Appel had been the President of Construction South, Inc., a general construction contractor. Prior to that, he worked at Sharp Electric, Inc as a project engineer and Vice President. He is currently President of Construction Management Services Inc. Senator Appel is a graduate of Louisiana State University achieving a degree as a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He is married and has two grown children.