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Dr. Lewis

Honoring Long-Serving Educators

Dear NOLA-PS Community,

We are in a moment of hope and joy as we wrap up the 2021-2022 school year. We successfully navigated yet another year challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the outstanding work of our teachers and staff, the leadership of our school principals, the devotion of our parents to their children, and the doggedness of our students in their quests to learn bring me great optimism for what is to come for NOLA Public Schools.
I am grateful to each and every member or our community for their investments of time, talent, and love to the achievement of our mission to educate every child, every day.
Our recent success is really a testament to years of consistent success; to years of constant striving to make better public education for each ensuing class of students. That foundation for the future would not be possible if we had let go of the experience, perseverance, and achievements of the past. Our district may stand apart from other traditional American school districts, but we cannot forget that public education in New Orleans has existed for 181 years. We all share a part in that history.
I want to take this moment to honor some of those educators who stood with us – and those who came before us – through it all, bringing the knowledge they earned and collected for decades in our public schools to the challenging but fruitful conversations that brought us to where we are today. Immense gratitude goes to Mardele Early, who has devoted almost 47 years to educating the children of New Orleans. Her amazing work shines in the faces of every student who passes through Lake Forest Elementary Charter School. We could not stand here today, at the start of smooth and successful transition to the next chapter of NOLA-PS, without her guiding hand.
To Mary Haynes-Smith, whose enormous heart has lifted up students and teachers in her schools for 44 years, I am so honored to call her a dear friend. While leading Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School, she has been a source of great support and enthusiasm for me and so many of us working for the sake of all New Orleans students.
Velta Simms has supported and educated children in our great city for 56 years. From countless classrooms to her current work as a leader for the Friends of King Schools, she has made education a family affair. Her passion throughout the years has encouraged her siblings and her own daughter to follow in her footsteps for the benefit of so many children in our city.
And a special thanks to Kathy Reidlinger, who is retiring this year after devoting 50 years of her life to public education in New Orleans, 40 of those as the leader of Lusher Charter School. Under her leadership, Lusher was elevated and remains one of the best public schools in Louisiana, if not the nation. Her counsel has been invaluable as we navigated the groundbreaking transformation that followed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on our schools.
These educators are bridges linking so many generations of New Orleanians, both past and present. They are the through line of courage, compassion and care that our teachers, principals, and support staff bring to our students every year, every month, every day. Each of them wants their students to become their best selves, and to live their best lives. I am proud of their work and the work of all our educators in our school community.
Here's to a great summer for all! I hope you all take much needed time to spend with your family and friends. I certainly will!

In service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.

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24 May 2022
Press Releases
(New Orleans – May 24, 2022) — "No family should have to go through the loss and grief the families of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas are going through this evening," said NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr....
24 May 2022
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10 May 2022
(New Orleans – May 10, 2022) – As NOLA Public Schools' (NOLA-PS) 2021-2022 school year is winding down, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) has stated this week will be its last providing COVID-19 data for schools ahead of the summer break. NOLA...
25 April 2022
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(New Orleans – April 25, 2022) – The positive test rate of NOLA Public Schools' (NOLA-PS) districtwide testing program remains below 1%. NOLA-PS' COVID Tracker reports the counts of COVID-19 cases identified in the Louisiana Department of Health's (L...
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NOLA-PS Renaming Initiative

NOLA-PS outlined a plan to rename school facilities in response to recent public requests and in accordance with policy approved by the OPSB to ensure school facilities do not have names honoring figures from our painful past. The board believes all schools should be welcoming, inclusive, and inspiring places for all students. Our goal is to ensure the names of these physical school facilities and the people that we honor reflect the values of the school district. For more information, please visit:



NOLA Public Schools takes the health of our students, educators, and staff seriously, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our district and schools.  Visit our COVID Guidance for the 2021-2022 School Year to review our latest guidelines to best keep our community safe. 


NOLA-PS has issued a requirement for all students 5 years and older to be vaccinated by Feb. 1, 2022 to keep classrooms safe and to limit disruptions to in-person learning.

To help provide easy access to the vaccine, NOLA-PS, in partnership with local health partners, will be continuing to offer vaccination opportunities to eligible students. Click here for the list of sites.


Families with medically vulnerable students or circumstances can apply for distance learning options by submitting this COVID Eligibility Form directly to their schools.

Several of our schools are serving as community feeding centers at this time. Visit our COVID-19 Child Nutrition page for the latest list of schools and hours of operation.

Check out our COVID-19 Community Resource Center for important information and resources for families and community members. 

To view our COVID Tracker for the 2021-2022 school year, please visit this link. These data now include the number of weekly tests administered among our school community, as well as the weekly positive test rate. 


 To view our archived COVID Tracker for the 2020-2021 school year, please visit this link.


For further information about how we reopened schools during the 2020-2021 school year, read our Roadmap to Reopening.


NOLA Public Schools’ 2020-2021 Annual Report focuses on the role and accom­plishments of the Central Office during this past school year. Please join NOLA-PS as it prepares for the next phase of its journey to be a national model for successful public education. Please click the upper right corner of the report to view it.

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Ask Listen Learn Campaign

Ask, Listen, Learn is a free, fully digital, turnkey underage drinking prevention program for kids ages 9-13, their educators, and families. It is aligned to Common Core, Next Generation Science, and National Health Education standards. The program contains eight modules – seven focused on alcohol and the developing brain and one focused on cannabis and the developing brain – that are neuroscience-focused animation videos with accompanying lesson plans, classroom activities, and resources for both educators and parents. New Orleans-based artist and activist Brandan ‘BMike’ Odums has created art for the lesson plans and program that reflect New Orleans youth and culture. Click here to learn more about these resources and materials.


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