We are excited to announce that on February 15th, Dana Peterson will begin serving as the CEO of New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO). He will lead the organization in continuing its powerful initiatives and in starting new projects to support our city’s students. Dana believes in real collaboration, community involvement, and the power of partnership to serve children. He is fueled by his belief that great schools can transform both individual lives and entire communities. 

“I am guided by a set of core values – learned early on from my grandmother, who had an unwavering faith in God and a stubborn belief in the power of education to confront poverty and racism – that inform my approach to the work,” he says. 

Dana has been a leader in New Orleans public education for many years, at both the district and state levels. He is the former assistant state superintendent in the Louisiana Department of Education, where he led work in the Recovery School District and the Baton Rouge Achievement Zone.

“We are excited to have Dana joining NSNO as CEO,” says Jessica Peña, Chair of NSNO’s Board. “He will lead the organization in developing new, innovative strategies to support schools and deepen NSNO’s partnership and engagement work. Dana is a long-time New Orleans education leader and is taking on this role at a pivotal moment for our public schools. I know he will work in strong partnership with families, educators, and the new superintendent to ensure our students have access to a truly excellent education.”

Here in New Orleans, Dana helped launch the New Orleans Career Center (NOCC), a technical training hub and program for students seeking to build careers in emerging, high-demand fields. He now serves as board chair for NOCC. Dana is also involved with higher education in our region; he was recently appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve on the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.

Dana’s involvement in education in New Orleans began roughly fifteen years ago, when he started volunteering in his community as a board member of FirstLine schools. He was moved by the energy and vision of the educators he met and driven to help make our city’s public schools stronger. He devoted his career to supporting that work. 

Dana is a graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Tulane University with a Master of Business Administration from the Freeman School of Business. He is also a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

“I believe the diversity of my experiences inside and outside of education will complement the tremendous team of educators and civic leaders at NSNO working to deliver on the promise of excellent public schools for every child in New Orleans,” Dana explains.

Christine Jordan, who serves on the NSNO Board, echoed this belief. “I am excited about Dana becoming NSNO’s next CEO. As a New Orleans public school parent and a member of the NSNO board, I feel confident that he is the right leader for our organization and our schools. Dana believes passionately in our students, and I believe he will work in partnership with educators, families, and the district to make sure students have what they need to thrive,” she says.

NSNO’s board and team look forward to Dana’s leadership. We also feel immense gratitude for the outgoing CEO, Patrick Dobard, who is stepping down after five years in the role. Patrick believes deeply in Dana’s skill and strength as a leader.

“I have known Dana for many years, and I had the privilege of working closely with him at the Recovery School District. I know he will be a visionary leader of NSNO,” Patrick says. “Dana approaches the work with the utmost thoughtfulness and care. He is truly skilled at both grappling with ‘big picture’ issues and understanding the unique experience of individuals. I look forward to seeing all that he, the NSNO team, and our schools and partners accomplish together going forward.”

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