NSNO Welcomes the Newest Cohort of The Novice Leader Academy  
With the school year now underway, we are proud to announce the second cohort of NSNO’s Novice Leader Academy (NLA). They bring immense expertise, experience, and dedication to their work as veteran educators in our city. They have served New Orleans children as teachers, interventionists, deans, instructional specialists, and assistant principals. Many grew up here in New Orleans themselves. Now, all of them are in, or are soon to take on, the role of school leader.  

NLA brings together a small group of current or soon-to-be principals for targeted professional development, personalized coaching and mentorship, and a community of fellow leaders. Our students deserve great principals that stay with them for many years–and in order to do that, our principals deserve great support from the start. 

Over two years, NLA fellows receive:
Workshops and professional development led by strong principals 
Site visits to high-performing schools 
1:1 mentorship from expert veteran educators, Amanda Aiken, Melanie Askew Clark, Ava Lee, and Alexina Medley 
– Opportunities for fellowship, community, collaboration, and team-building We are proud to announce this year’s cohort here.

The NLA is a cohort of first-time New Orleans principals or soon-to-be principals. 

Ta’Nesha Bernard-Kirt
Principal, 42 Charter School

– Graduate of O. Perry Walker High School, Bachelor’s degree from Southern University of New Orleans, Bachelors from SUNO, Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from Prairie View A&M University, Master of Arts in Administration from Prairie View A&M University 
– 26 years in education: has served as a 2nd, 5th, and 6th grade reading teacher, grade level chair, instructional specialist, and assistant principal

Kim Conner-Davis, M.Ed.+30 
Principal, Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans 

– Bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Master of Arts in Education from National Louis University 
– 20 years in education

Natasha Doughty
 Principal, Esperanza Academy 

– Graduate of Warren Easton Fundamental Senior High School, Bachelor’s degree from Grambling State, Post Baccalaureate in Education at Southern University of New Orleans, Master’s in Education from Louisiana State University Shreveport
– 23 years in education: has served as a teacher, 3rd-5th grade math coach, test coordinator, 5th-8th grade division head, and assistant principal 

Lauren LeDuff King
Assistant Principal, Warren Easton Charter High School 

– Graduate of Warren Easton Fundamental Senior High School, Bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and Administration, Xavier University of Louisiana.  
– 11 years in education: has served as a teacher and administrator

Alexis Long
Principal, New Orleans Military and  Maritime Academy

– Bachelor’s degree from Anderson University in South Carolina,  Master of Education  in Educational Leadership from American College of Education. 
– 13 years in education: has served as a social studies teacher, academic dean, and  assistant principal 

Brittany Smith, M.Ed
Principal, Edward Hynes Charter School-UNO 

– Graduate of Benjamin Franklin Senior High School, Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Orleans 
– 15 years in education: has served as a principal, kindergarten and 1st grade teacher, music teacher, chorus director, school and family involvement team leader, and literacy facilitator

Miles Williams
Principal, Bricolage Academy Elementary School

– Bachelor’s degree from Elon University, Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from The University of Chicago, Leadership in Community Schools Fellow at The University of Chicago
– 7 years in education: has served as a 2nd grade teacher, manager of restorative practices, and director of student culture

Dominique Zenon, M.Ed
Principal, Lafayette Academy Community Middle School

– Graduate of McKinley High School in Baton Rouge, LA, Bachelor’s degree from Xavier University of Louisiana, Master of Arts in Education from Concordia University  
– 14 years in education: has served as math teacher, freshman academy coordinator,  assistant principal, and principal

We are so proud to welcome this cohort into the program. Given the complex, high-stakes nature of their work, they deserve all the support they can get. We are glad to be able to offer them strong professional development and mentorship, but we expect that they will learn the most from one another. These powerful, expert, experienced educators have been serving our students for years, and we are excited to see them continue their impact as school leaders. 
If you have questions about the Novice Leader Academy or would like to get involved, please email Daniel Meekins (daniel@nsno.org).

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