Today, NSNO is proud to announce the third cohort of E3 fellows. The E3 program has quickly become a fixture in the New Orleans education landscape, representing some of the most successful and promising education leaders in our city. The first two cohorts are having immense impact at the school and network level already.
The Executive Education Experience, or “E3,” aims to identify and develop future executive-level leadership for our city’s schools and networks. The fellowship involves professional development sessions, individual coaching, and meetings with national and local education leaders, including former U.S. Secretary of Education John King, former State Superintendent John White, and KIPP Atlanta Schools Chief Executive Officer Mini’mah Shaheed.
Part of what makes the fellowship so powerful is that it brings together leaders from all across the city with diverse backgrounds, identities, and experiences. They build relationships and learn from one another. The E3 cohort “text threads” end up being powerful sites of brainstorming, information-sharing, self-expression, and celebration.
John Gravier, School Director of Dolores T. Aaron Academy, was part of the first cohort of E3 fellows. When we spoke to those fellows about their experiences, Gravier reflected on the power of these relationships:
“I think that collaboration is single-handedly the greatest potential of this group. There’s nine of us, and we all work for different types of schools…and there is diversity in who we are…but at the core, we have a lot of the same values: we all want really great schools across the city, we don’t want any network or any school to be worse than the others. If we were all to be a CEO one day, our power to initiate change will be greater because we share best practices.”
Nicole Saulny, Chief Schools Officer at Community Academies of New Orleans, agreed. She said, “We are the champions of each other. It’s not a competition among charters. We are saying, ‘let’s build for each other, let’s benefit from each other, let’s add to each other’s ideas. You take a piece of mine, I take a piece of yours, and we can create a mecca of communication in New Orleans.’”
The fellowship is highly selective. E3 seeks a diverse, experienced group of leaders with a history of success in schools and a deep love for our city’s children. This year’s cohort represents pre-kindergarten through 12th grade campuses, as well as both single-site and charter networks. Seventy percent of the fellows are people of color. We are proud to share some highlights and reflections from this year’s cohort (and you can read their full bios here):
International High School of New Orleans
“I view a collaborative school environment as the key to creating successful teachers and students. I believe partnerships with parents and community partners are essential to enriching the experience at International High School of New Orleans.”
Adierah Berger is a graduate of McDonogh 35 Senior High School, earned her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans, and her Master of Science in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is currently the principal of International High School, where she began working as Chief of Staff and Director of Curriculum and Instruction in 2016, before becoming principal in 2017. Ms. Berger is also currently enrolled in Xavier University of Louisiana’s doctoral program in Educational Leadership.
Dr. Melanie Askew Clark
Founder and Head of School,
Élan Academy Charter School
“I am unwavering in my belief that all students deserve the right to a free high-quality education regardless of their race, zip code, and socioeconomic status. It’s about access to choice and high-quality options. Families and students deserve the right to choose their path, fulfill their potential, and embody their dreams – a poor education should not determine anyone’s life or anyone’s future.”
Dr. Melanie Askew Clark began her career in education as a research assistant in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College. She has worked as a founding teacher, instructional coach, curriculum content specialist, adjunct professor, and educational consultant. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development, a Master of Education in Organizational Leadership, and a doctorate in Leadership and Learning in Organizations from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College.
Chief Executive Officer,
“I am motivated daily by the unwavering belief that every child is deserving of a high-quality, equitable, and joyous educational experience and that we as educators learn and grow just as much from our students as they do from us.”
Jolene Galpin has worked over seventeen years in education, serving as a teacher, instructional coach, school leader, and network leader. During her tenure as principal of Mildred Osborne Charter School, the school earned an A Progress Rating in 2018 and 2019.
Dr. Rulonda Green
Dwight D. Eisenhower Charter School
“Being a school principal, I am most passionate about my influence and impact on my school community. It’s important that I foster a school-wide culture that believes in G.P.A., (Growth, Perseverance, & Attainment)….it’s imperative for my scholars to remember that growth gets them closer to their goal(s), perseverance helps them push towards excellence in spite of obstacles, and academic attainment occurs when they reach or exceed their expectations. G.P.A. Matters to Me! Working in tandem with teachers, parents and students is the key to academic success.”
Before serving as principal of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Dr. Rulonda Green worked as an assistant principal, classroom teacher, and Director of Curriculum and Instruction. She is a 2021 graduate from the University of Holy Cross, where she earned a Doctorate in Executive Leadership Program (DIELP).
Chief Academic Officer,
Community Academies of New Orleans
“My lifelong mission is to empower young children with the words of the late Nelson Mandela, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’”
Stephanie Jackson’s career began as a middle school teacher, cheerleader coach, and instructional coach in Mississippi. She then worked in New Orleans, where she was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and interim principal with Capital One-New Beginnings Charter School Network, as well as the Director of Schools for the Recovery School District. Mrs. Jackson transitioned into the role of principal of W.L. Abney Elementary in the Saint Tammany Parish School District, where she was named Elementary Principal of the Year in 2021.
Chief Academic Officer,
Edward Hynes Charter Schools
“The educational landscape has changed so much since I began teaching, however one area stands out for me: I firmly believe that building connections with staff, students, and families generates the greatest dividends.”
Anne Kramer began her career in institutional banking with First Commerce Corporation for nine years. After obtaining her teaching certification from the University of New Orleans, she taught intermediate grades. She has also served as grade level leader and an instructional coach. Ms. Kramer worked as the Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction for Hynes Charter School Lakeview, and she eventually served as principal of Hynes Charter School.
Chief Academic Officer,
Young Audiences Charter Schools
“I am to empower and instill self-advocacy into all youth that I encounter so that they take advantage of their right to acquisition of knowledge. I believe all learners deserve access to high quality academic and arts-integrated experiences and opportunities that nurture leaders in life and learning.”
Brionne Janee-Stewart Marcelle serves as the Chief Academic Officer at Young Audiences Charter Schools. Ms. Marcelle has served in various instructional leadership capacities, including but not limited to, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, assistant school leader, and principal.
Schaumburg Elementary School
“Helping to build sharp minds, big hearts and powerful souls in our children is the central work of my life, and the foundational obligation of any just society.”
After a decade as an architect, Vasy McCoy started his teaching career as a high school science teacher and was awarded district high school teacher of the year in 2009. Shortly thereafter, he was named the founding school director of ReNEW Accelerated High School. For the last 6 years, Vasy has been the Chief of School Leadership at ReNEW, and then the school director at Schaumburg Elementary.
Middle School Principal,
Morris Jeff Community School
“The core of my work is developing staff and students both academically and as people. My greatest joy as an educator is seeing former students’ continued pursuit of being lifelong learners.”
Ryan Ruyle is the middle school principal at Morris Jeff Community School. Ryan earned teacher of the year as an eighth grade special education teacher in his second year of teaching in 2009. In 2010, he became the founding Special Education Coordinator at Morris Jeff Community School. He has served as the founding Dean of Students, Middle Year Programme (MYP) Coordinator, and middle school principal.
Opportunities Academy (OA)
“I am always thinking about how we best serve ALL. That is in terms of all students: meeting each student’s individual needs. That is also in terms of all staff: meeting each staff member’s individual needs. And that is also in terms of ensuring each person who comes into our building feels that OA is the best place for them to learn and grow.”
Sophia Scott is the executive director of Opportunities Academy (OA). Prior to her current role, Sophia served as the Principal in Residence at OA and the Director of College Access Programs for Collegiate Academies (CA). Before going to work as a Manager of College Completion at CA in 2016, Sophia worked in alternative schools as a special education professional.
The past two cohorts of fellows have demonstrated immense camaraderie, curiosity, and dedication. Many have already stepped into new and powerful roles as charter-level executives. We are grateful for the chance to work with this new cohort of leaders. We know they are ready for the challenges ahead and we know they will only expand the powerful impact they’ve had for children in our city so far.