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Our school

We have come a long, long way.

As I reflect on my six years as Superintendent of Schools, I am proud of what we have gained for our students, families, and educators of New Orleans. I am also honored by the trust this community placed in me to lead NOLA Public Schools at such an important moment in our history.

We have accomplished so much, together. Our public schools New Orleans are now under local control, where they belong. We built frameworks to balance high standards with encircling support for our schools, forming an educational community like no other in this nation. We found a unique way to prize creativity in our classrooms while demanding a quality foundation that gives our students the tools to compete toe-to-toe and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their counterparts everywhere. And best of all, we found ways to talk to each other, to problem-solve as a team unified in our dedication to ensure every child thrives, academically, socially, emotionally – no matter their race, gender, creed, or economic circumstance.

The COVID-19 pandemic, for all the fear it wrought, proved the quality of our craftsmanship. We led the nation in keeping our schools safe, reopening our classrooms, and providing access to food, technology, COVID testing and vaccines for those in need. None of that could have been accomplished without the community you helped me build around our schools.

My time as Superintendent is now coming to a close. I announced earlier this week that I would not seek a renewal of my contract with the Orleans Parish School Board. I made that decision without reservation, because another important attribute of a good leader is to recognize when it is time for new ideas, new dreams, and new visionaries to pick up the torch.

I chose to make my announcement a year before my allotted time was up because I believe it is the right time, the responsible time, to ensure a successful handoff to the next leader of this great school system. And in the time that remains, I want to accomplish two things above all else.

One: We must re-engage our students who may have lost their way during the pandemic. We must rally together to ensure every student this fall is back in school, on time, every day. As a District, we have begun that good work in tandem with our schools to find those families and communities most in need of our support. You will see throughout the summer multiple strategies to reconnect our students with that intrinsic love for learning that lies in all of us.

Two: We must lay out a clear path forward for the next Superintendent. Our strategic planning for the next four years is well underway, and we are crafting a budget for the 2021-2022 school year that will prioritize our greatest needs. Going forward, our collective work must challenge inequity, poverty, violence, and other systemic ills that have befallen our families and children long before any of the natural or manmade disasters we have endured.

Since 2015, I have embraced you as you have embraced me. And I am confident I will leave our students in the great hands of a diverse and energized School Board and brilliant school leaders, teachers, and support staff. You have my gratitude for your support these last six years and for your dedication to public education in this great City we lovingly call home.

We got through this, together. Thank you.

In Service,

Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.


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New Orleans, Louisiana 70114

Phone: 504-304-3520

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