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ABOUT
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Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.

Superintendent of Schools

Contact Superintendent:
superintendent@opsb.us

On March 18, 2015, Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. became one of the youngest superintendents ever in the 174-year history of New Orleans public schools. With over 20 years of educational experience as a teacher, mentor, assistant principal, instructional coach, curriculum expert, principal, and school district leader, Superintendent Lewis brings a unique, classroom focused perspective to the table.

Before leading New Orleans’ school district, Dr. Lewis was a celebrated superintendent for East Feliciana Parish, which is just north of Baton Rouge. As a result of his four-year strategic plan and leadership, East Feliciana Public Schools raised the bar for classroom teaching and evaluation, making significant gains among low-income students. As a result, the district was recognized by the Louisiana Department of Education as 2nd in the state for elementary student academic growth.

Prior to becoming superintendent in East Feliciana, Dr. Lewis worked for the Algiers Charter Schools Association for six years, serving as the founding principal at Algiers Technology Academy. Prior to that, Superintendent Lewis was a teacher for seven years at neighboring St. Bernard Parish Public Schools. In addition to teaching, Dr. Lewis represented District 9 on the St. Bernard Parish Public School Board for 11 years.

Honors and Awards

  • Chiefs for Change inductee 2018
  • Drum Major for Education (Friends of King)
  • 2018 "Man of Honor" (Beacon Light community)

  • 2015-2018 Distinguished Board Member (Louisiana School Boards Association)
  • 2011-2014 Distinguished Board Member (Louisiana School Boards Association)

Superintendent of NOLA Public Schools

Dr. Lewis’ tenure as Superintendent in New Orleans has been very consequential and largely defined by the historic, unprecedented return to local control of about sixty (~60) charter schools formerly overseen by the State of Louisiana. But unification of New Orleans public schools under the local control of the OPSB is just part of how Dr. Lewis has fundamentally transformed the district.

Indeed, the role of the district has changed, but has a no less important job as a citywide regulator of schools, a protector of family and student rights, and a thoughtful steward of public resources.

Furthermore, New Orleans’ system of schools is better structured today than ever before. Our kids are learning and in 2018, nearly 80% of district schools scored an ‘A’ or ‘B’ for progress1. But still, too many of our children are not receiving the educational supports and services they need to succeed in school and life.

Notable Accomplishments

As can be seen below, New Orleans public schools have come a long way, but there is still a very long way to go.

  OPSB March, 2015 OPSB March, 2019
Local Control Most schools under RSD Unified under local control2
Leadership 2+ years with interim supt. 4 years of stability/success3,4
# of Schools ~20 schools overseen/operated ~80 schools being overseen5
District Office Culture Siloed divisions w/ limited all-staff collaboration Service oriented culture emphasizing collaboration6
Public Engagement Little systematic engagement with public/media/stakeholders Robust social media, press, & public engagement7
Supt Advisory Councils Limited systematic stakeholder voice in decision making 3 standing councils review plans & advise on issues8
Budget and Finance Budget opaque More transparency9, monthly public reporting10, AA- credit11,
Transparency Limited online resources; difficult to search for public info Implemented BoardDocs12 & created online, public records portal13
Per Pupil $ Equity Non-differentiated $ formula for special needs students 5-tier formula; more $ follows students w/ special needs14
Accountability & Supports Siloed school accountability & support efforts Integrated and expanded accountability & supports,15,16
Juvenile Justice Schools at YSC & OJC inadequate/non-compliant New Travis Hill Schools have great results17
Facilities Major school buildings offline Major buildings back online18
Board Room Meetings at Mc35, w/ committees at central office Modern, permanent board room at central office19
Classroom Funding Stagnated classroom funding $10 Million in increased funding for classrooms20

 

1 Orleans Parish Schools Continue to Progress

2 Unification of Schools: All unification milestones were met over a two-year period

3 Orleans school board showing leadership

4 How New Orleans’s Unique School System Is Working for Our Students, Families & Neighborhoods and Reclaiming the Future for Our City

5 OPSB Schools

6 Monthly all staff working sessions, monthly birthday celebrations, additional daily coordination/collaboration

7 Monthly newsletters are now provided to the public and the district has rapidly increased social media followers. Increased followers on Twitter by 925% (from ~200 to ~2050), doubled active users on Facebook, increased followers on Instagram from 0 to ~1500. In addition, high profile op-eds from Dr. Lewis and the board have appeared in The Advocate, The Times-Picayune, and elsewhere. The district also had a very successful unification media campaign with significant coverage. Also, regular newsletters have also been going out to a broader mailing list, which includes top education leaders, community members, city leadership and charter board members. And finally, to engage another mostly older, education focused audience who watches public access TV, we have also rapidly expanded the offerings on OPSB’s Channel 8, regularly covering events, while also creating pipelines for charter schools so they can upload photos and videos.

8 Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council, Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council.

9 OPSB Proposed 2019 Consolidated Budget

10 Presentations on budgeted v. actual spending: see Budget and Finance Committee agendas

11 S&P Global Raises Orleans Parish School Board's Rating; Reports Financial Outlooks Are 'Stable'

12 OPSB BoardDocs

13 OPSB Public Records Request

14 New Orleans has opportunity to lead the way for students with disabilities

15 Departments dedicated to Equity & Compliance and School Support & Improvement

16 Newly Unified OPSB Hires Director of Charter Board Compliance

17 Travis Hill Schools

18 Ribbon cuttings since March, 2015 - McDonogh 35, Carver HS, MLK High School, Lake Forest, Morial, Abramson, Abrams, Livingston, Habans, Sherwood Forest, Bradley, Dunbar… with more to come including Karr and Booker T. Washington

19 Everett Williams Board Room dedication held on June 7th, 2018

20 June 2019: More Funding for Classrooms

External Resources

BoardDocs
Meeting Agendas and Supporting Information

Board Policy
Policy Manual Display and Reference Guide

enrollNOLA
Guides and resources to help students and families with the opportunity to choose a school that suits their interests and needs.

MUNIS
Employee Self Service

Records Request Portal
A user-friendly information portal that provides the public with easier and improved access to public records.

Report Fraud

Click the link below to report fraud.

http://www.lla.la.gov/hotline/

2401 Westbend Parkway
New Orleans, Louisiana 70114

Phone: 504-304-3520
Email: Communications@opsb.us

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