Dr. Larry E. Monk, Executive Director of Northwestern State University Leesville-Fort Polk and long-time Vernon Parish educator, passed away Thursday after a sudden illness.
In respect to Dr. Monk, NSU Leesville-Fort Polk’s campus will be closed today.
Monk served as the executive director for NSU Leesville-Fort Polk since 2003, though he had been a faculty member for more than 20 years.
Monk was a teacher at West Leesville Elementary and Leesville High School before being named Vernon Parish’s curriculum director in 1981. In 1988, he was selected as assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, in-service and professional personnel. Monk held that position until 1999.
“Larry was a quality educator. He cared about the students and was very strong in curriculum,” Vernon Parish Superintendent Dr. Cindy Gillespie said. “He had a great heart and was a compassionate and Christian man.”
Gillespie also shared how Monk had a terrific sense of humor and was always singing and writing poetry. “He was fun to work with and was a joy to be around. He is going to be greatly missed.”
Northwestern State University (Natchitoches) President Dr. Randall J. Webb said, “All of us in the Northwestern family are shocked and saddened at Larry’s sudden passing. He had a great love for students and worked extremely hard to provide educational opportunities for them. He did an exemplary job as executive director of the Leesville-Fort Polk campus and was admired and respected in the community. Our sympathy goes out to his family and friends.”
Monk began his career at NSU Leesville-Fort Polk in 1981 as an adjunct instructor, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Computer Science, Education, Education Leadership and Educational Psychology.
In 1999 he became an instructor of Education in 1999 where he would continue to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in education and educational leadership until being named executive director in 2003.
An alumnus of NSU, Monk received a bachelor’s degree, a master’s in business education and distributive education and a doctorate in secondary teaching, supervision and administration from NSU. He did additional postdoctoral study at UCLA, Peabody Teacher’s College of Vanderbilt University and Northeast Louisiana University.
Leesville Mayor Betty Westerchil added, “I had the privilege to have worked with Larry in many areas:  Vernon Parish School Board, Northwestern State University Leesville-Fort Pork, First Baptist Church, the City of Leesville and served with him on various committees. He was a great educator, for he had a kindness and gentleness about him and truly cared about mankind.”
Westerchil echoed Gillespie’s sentiment about Monk’s humor and personality. “Larry was multi-talented and loved sharing his gifts with others. Not only did he love words and used them fluently, orally and written, he was also a great musician.
“Larry was a gentleman who contributed in all the arenas of life and shall surely be missed. Truly, he made Leesville and our community a better place. I, personally, have lost a treasured friend,” Westerchil continued.
Funeral arrangements are being handled by Labby Memorial Funeral Home of Leesville.