The Picard Center's Executive Director, Billy Ray Stokes, notes the Center's 6th birthday.

To read more about Dr. Stokes & the Picard Center, click here.

July 1 marks the Picard Center’s sixth anniversary of our establishment at the University of Louisiana. Being only a couple of months away from moving into our new home in Research Park has generated a lot of nostalgic thought about the work and commitment former Superintendent of Education Cecil Picard and Mr. Loyd Rockhold put into making this Center a reality.

I think as these two wonderful friends of ours look down on us, the thing they would be most proud of is the body of work we have put together in collaboration with our clients and partners that benefits so many Louisiana children.

The most interesting aspect of watching and participating in the development of this work is the unbelievable realization that we are only just beginning.

To everyone who has supported us in the last six years (clients, partners, legislators, nonprofit organizations, UL, Picard and Rockhold families) – thank you, thank you, thank you!


                                                                                    Billy R. Stokes, Ed.D., MBA
                                                                                    Executive Director
                                                                                    Cecil J. Picard Endowed Fellow in Child Development

From the Center's website:

Billy R. Stokes, Ed.D., MBA, is the Executive Director and Cecil J. Picard Endowed Fellow in Child Development for the Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning at the University of Louisiana. Dr. Stokes coordinates the Center’s research and development efforts with local districts, state agencies and public policy entities across the Southeast.

He has more than 40 years of experience in special education management and administration and has held various positions across several states, including Program Director at the University of Alabama – Birmingham, Associate Commissioner at the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Assistant Secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, and Executive Director of Special Education Programs for the Louisiana Department of Education. His early career included serving as special education instructor, assistant principal, principal and superintendent in several districts in Louisiana and Alabama.

Dr. Stokes has developed a unique talent for using his program background and MBA training to conduct realistic analyses and planning around public policy and research issues. His career includes the attainment of more than 55 grants and contracts for high-quality research and evaluations in the areas of education, health care, quality of life and workforce.

Areas of major scientific interest to Stokes include evaluation and longitudinal research that examine early childhood contributions and benefits to school readiness, dropout prevention, and intervention for adolescents with mild disabilities.

Stokes has served on the board of directors for the Louisiana Epilepsy Association, Hammond Area United Way, and Louisiana Special Olympics. He is currently a board member for Education’s Next Horizon, a member of the Vision Council for the United Way of Acadiana, and chair of Education’s Next Horizon’s Early Childhood Workgroup.

Stokes received his BA and MA in education from Louisiana Tech University, his EdD from the University of Southern Mississippi and his MBA from Tulane University.

This is a submitted article.  Send your press releases and articles on UL, the UL District, and quality of life in Acadiana-- particularly education & culture-- to by clicking here.