Teach For America has contributed leadership and innovation to classrooms and schools across Louisiana since 1990, but Hurricane Katrina exposed a broken education system that was failing Greater New Orleans' students.
System-level changes and an influx of talent—including hundreds of Teach For America corps members and alumni—continue to transform educational outcomes in the fastest improving region in the country.
About Greater New Orleans-Louisiana Delta
For more than a decade after Teach For America first placed corps members in Louisiana in 1990, the educational reality for the majority of students was a dysfunctional public education system. Valedictorians of their high school classes were unable to pass the Graduate Exit Exam and less than 40% of seniors were graduating from high school. Although thousands of teachers and administrators across the state worked tirelessly for students, the education landscape did not allow for change that would improve children’s lives and the community on a large scale.
Over the past five years the tide has changed, leading to more favorable outcomes for students. A changing political landscape and a strengthened focus on teacher retention and leadership cultivation have helped rebuild the school system in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina. In this time of increasing reform, Teach For America achieved ambitious growth in the region: increasing our corps from 85 to nearly 400, doubling our alumni base from 100 to over 600, and fostering leadership among those alumni. Geographically, we extended our reach to the rural community of the Louisiana Delta in 2010. Overall, our corps members and alumni now reach one in five students in the region. Twenty-seven alumni are school leaders in New Orleans and many others are designing curriculum, driving city and state policy, working in advocacy, and innovating through social entrepreneurship.
Our teachers throughout Greater New Orleans-Louisiana Delta have contributed to dramatic progress in student achievement in countless ways, including improved test scores and cutting the high school drop-out rate in half. The leadership of our teachers and alumni will continue to position the region as an emerging proof point for transformative public education.
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Kira was a 2000 corps member in Baton Rouge, where she taught fourth grade at Eden Park Elementary. She went on to serve as school director for Teach For America summer institute and, as vice president of new site development, led the organization’s efforts to expand to three new regions. Kira founded and led Right Quick Productions, a nonprofit organization in Baton Rouge dedicated to amplifying community voices through documentary filmmaking. Most recently, Kira became an elected member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary & Secondary Education, an 11-member board that advocates for policies to advance meaningful change for children throughout the state. Kira holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a M.Ed. from Harvard University.