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Teach For America Greater New Orleans 30th Anniversary in teal

Service, Solidarity, and Solutions

For decades, our education system failed to meet its promise to all children. Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) children and children growing up in low-income communities across America are often denied an excellent education—and with it the opportunity for economic mobility and the chance to thrive. 

This is even more true in Louisiana, where the long-standing effects of slavery, racism, poverty, and systemic injustice has been dominant for over three centuries. 

The need for an equitable and excellent education system was so great in our state that it was chosen as one of the five original charter regions when Teach For America began in 1990. We now have two regional offices in Louisiana - TFA South Louisiana and TFA Greater New Orleans. Both regions have been working shoulder to shoulder with students, educators, community members, and local leaders for the past three decades. 

To date, more than 4,500 corps members have come to Louisiana to serve in open-enrollment public schools across the state. Many have stayed and continue to work at every level of education, from schools across the state to local school districts to the Louisiana Department of Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Many other Teach For America alumni have answered the call for leadership in our communities and have chosen to make Louisiana “home.” 

To date, there are 1,400 alumni living across the state, with almost 1,100 in the Greater New Orleans area and 300 in the parishes surrounding Greater Baton Rouge and more across the state. They join the additional 175 corps members teaching in the eight parishes that the Greater New Orleans and South Louisiana regions serve.

“Since 1990, Teach For America has served our schools and students, worked in solidarity with our community partners, and created innovative solutions to some of the most challenging problems facing any education system in the country.”

After 30 years of impact, so much has changed for our state - but there is still work to do to create the education opportunities our students need to succeed. We know we can get there because our children have the potential for excellence and our leaders are dedicated to equity. As we reflect on our 30th anniversary of impact and transformation, their voices tell our story.

We asked 30 members of our communities - students, partners, corps members, alumni, and supporters - to contribute to our story in our 30x30 Transformation Series below. They answered the call with honesty, humility, hope, and pride. 

Join us in celebrating their stories, the stories of our students and communities, and the stories of Teach For America.

The 30x30 Transformation Series

This series is made possible through support from our partners at Entergy. After 20 years of partnership and $5,000,000 in investment, Entergy has been a steadfast supporter of Teach For America’s impact in Louisiana. 

Please check back each month through June 2021 for additional stories!

Joy Okoro: Executive Director, Teach For America Greater New Orleans

The 2021 TFA GNO State of the Union Address

Service: Transformational Leaders

Wendy Kopp: Founder, Teach For America; Co-Founder Teach For All

Wendy Kopp: Founder, Teach For America; Co-Founder Teach For All

The Transformation Podcast: An Interview with Wendy Kopp

Education as a Family Value: Teaching Across Generations - Lorraine Fedison-Winder (GNO ’13) and Christian Fedison (Chicago-NWI ’21)

My Teacher, My Advocate: When Teaching Extends Beyond the Classroom – Emily Klein Morris (GNO ’99) and Laquisha Carr

The Legacy of a Teacher: The Pathway from Teacher to Leader – Robert Hill and Dr. Jahquille Ross (GNO ’14)

A Tale of Two Corps Members: How a Student Became a Teacher – Alexandra Clarke Walsh (GNO ’10) and Erika Brown (GNO ’17)

Solidarity: Leading Through Crisis

  • Melanie Askew (Memphis ‘12): Founder and Head of School at Élan Academy Charter School 
  • Dina Hasiotis (GNO ‘02): Chief School Support & Improvement Officer at NOLA Public Schools
  • Jacob Landry (Hawaii ‘06): Founder and President of Urban South Brewery
  • Patty Riddlebarger: Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility for Entergy Corp.
  • Moderated by Alison Mehr (GNO ‘98): Managing Director of External Affairs, Teach For America Greater New Orleans

Innovating for Equity

How local TFA alumni leaders and partners used their leadership to advocate for their community during COVID-19.

Solutions: The Future of Leadership

Rhonda Dale (Rio Grande Valley ’99): Founding Executive Director of Next Level NOLA

"Through my collaboration with Kaylee and other TFA alumni, I’ve been reminded of how similar we are despite age differences and of how important it is to have fresh eyes for problem-solving. Kaylee has a skill for asking the right questions which helps make me and everyone else on our team stronger."

Kaylee Mulgrew (Greater New Orleans ’18): Success Coach at Next Level NOLA

"Regardless of corps year and region, TFA alumni foundationally care about educational inequity. Rhonda started Next Level NOLA to fill a need in our community and bridge an access gap. TFA alumni are also constantly seeking growth, and Rhonda models this by asking for feedback and genuinely showing up as her authentic self daily."

Read about Rhonda and Kaylee’s work with Next Level NOLA, a college bridge and career program for New Orleans public high school students, in the New Schools for New Orleans Innovators Series.

Claire Heckerman (South Louisiana ‘11): Founder and School Leader at Laureate Academy Charter School

Claire Heckerman