Christine Jordan is a Senior Lead Analyst in Corporate Social Responsibility at Entergy Corporation and has twelve years experience in the CSR field. She is a member of Grantmakers for Education, the co-founder and treasurer of Zawadi giving circle, and a graduate of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI). Christine holds a masters in Fine Arts from Northwestern University in Illinois. With roots four generations deep in New Orleans, Christine was born in South Florida shortly after her parents (both teachers) left the city in search of better educational and career opportunities for their children and themselves. As an adult, Christine moved back to New Orleans, and part of her personal mission is to help make sure that all New Orleanians can get an excellent education in their hometown.
Stephen W. Hales, M.D.
Stephen has practiced pediatrics in New Orleans for over thirty years. He is a member of the clinical faculty of the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, where he teaches a first-year course in medical ethics. Stephen has served on and chaired the boards of New Orleans’ Children’s Hospital, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, St. George’s Episcopal School, Metairie Park Country Day School, and the New Orleans Regional Alliance of Not-for-Profit Hospitals. He also serves on the boards of the Parenting Center, the Research Institute for Children, the Pro Bono Publico Foundation, and the Good Shepherd School, a Nativity Mission School serving inner city children. He is the Director and serves on the Executive Committee of Fidelity Homestead Savings Bank.
Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. Isaacson was born on May 20, 1952, in New Orleans. He is a graduate of Harvard College and of Pembroke College of Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He began his career at The Sunday Times of London and then the New Orleans Times- Picayune/States-Item. He joined TIME in 1978 and served as a political correspondent, national editor, and editor of new media before becoming the magazine’s 14th editor in 1996. He became chairman and CEO of CNN in 2001, and then president and CEO of the Aspen Institute in 2003.
From 2005 to 2007, he was the vice-chair of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, which oversaw the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. He is chair emeritus of Teach for America, which recruits recent college graduates to teach in underserved communities. He is on the board of United Airlines, Tulane University, the New Orleans Tricentennial Commission, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Society of American Historians, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.
He has honorary degrees from Tufts University, Cooper Union, Franklin College in Switzerland, University of New Orleans, University of South Carolina, City University of New York (Hunter College), Pomona College, Lehigh University, and Duke University.
Erika McConduit, Esq. is the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Centene Corporation. Her specific areas of expertise include policy, government affairs, diversity and inclusion, strategic planning, education, economic and business development, communications, organizational strategies and continuous process improvement. In her role, Erika develops Diversity & Inclusion strategies within target markets around the country, enhances talent and policy development, activates the supplier diversity strategy, and enhances engagement with external partners.
Erika has previously served as President and CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana, and Louisiana Director for the Education Trust. Erika is an avid supporter of education reform, advocating for quality early learning through post-secondary. In this capacity, she has served on numerous boards and committees including the Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors, Mayor Landrieu’s Education Task Force, Louisiana State Superintendent of Education John White’s Student Task Force, and the National Urban League’s Education Task Force. She is a New Orleans native, a Louisiana licensed attorney, and a mother of three children.
Stephen is owner and CEO of Strategic Comp, a workers compensation insurer. A New Orleans native, Stephen graduated from Amherst College and received his MBA from The Wharton School. Stephen has been actively involved in New Orleans public education for more than 20 years and is a strong advocate of charter schools. He was a founding board member with NSNO and served as Board President of the New Orleans Charter Middle School and S. J. Green Charter School. He is also a founding board member of KIPP New Orleans. Stephen was named Volunteer of the Year by the National Association of Partners in Education and was selected as the 1990 Business/Education Leader by the University of New Orleans.
Sarah N. Usdin
Founder And Board Member
Sarah Newell Usdin was elected to the Orleans Parish School Board in November 2012. She is the Founder and past- CEO of New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO). In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Sarah formed NSNO to support and develop the people, resources, and environment necessary to achieve excellent public schools for every child in New Orleans.
In 1992, after teaching in Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, she joined Teach For America and taught 5th grade for three years in Baton Rouge before becoming Teach for America’s Executive Director in Louisiana. She went on to serve as a partner with The New Teacher Project (TNTP), working to recruit, train, and alternatively certify thousands of high-quality public school teachers.
Sarah majored in religion and German at Colgate University. She holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Louisiana State University. Sarah was a 2008 Aspen-NewSchools Education Fellow and currently serves as a moderator for the program. She is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and was a recipient of The Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership. She is married to Tommy Usdin. They have two children, Lyle and Cecile.
Tyronne B. Walker
Tyronne B. Walker serves as the Chief Administrative Officer for the Orleans Parish District Attorney. Prior to this role, Walker served as Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs for the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Senior Advisor and Communication Director in the office of former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
As Vice President at GNOF, Walker led all communications, government relations and strategic initiatives such as GiveNOLA Day that raised record giving in support of nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana. During his tenure with the Landrieu Administration, Walker also served the community in a variety of roles including Senior Advisor for Local Government Affairs, Special Assistant to the Mayor, Faith-Based Advisor, Project Manager on the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team and Director of CeaseFire New Orleans. He assisted in writing and leading the city’s NOLA for Life Murder Reduction Strategy.
Outside of working in public service, Walker has demonstrated success in the private sector as Chief Operating Officer of the Law Office of Wayne E. Woods and Alpha Title Company and owner of Walker Strategic Solutions, LLC, a full service consulting firm he started in 2015 that specializes in strategy development, project management and political campaigns. Walker served as National Deputy Director for African American Outreach on the Bloomberg 2020 Presidential Campaign and led recent local campaigns of District Attorney Jason Williams, Judge Omar Mason, and School Board Member John Brown. Walker served as Deputy Field Director and Political Director on former Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s 2010 and 2014 campaigns respectively.
Walker is a native of the New Orleans’ 9th Ward and is a proud graduate of Brother Martin High School and Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont where he earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.
Walker is active in civic leadership serving on a number of boards in founding roles including Miller-McCoy Academy for Mathematics and Business and Son of a Saint Foundation. Currently, his board memberships include Split Second Foundation and New Schools for New Orleans. Walker serves as Chief of Staff of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and previously served as President of the Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. in New Orleans. Walker is a member of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church.
Patrick Dobard is a Partner at City Fund. Prior to City Fund, Patrick was the CEO of New Schools for New Orleans from 2017 to 2022. Under his leadership NSNO supported schools and the district in New Orleans through portfolio management, curriculum supports, talent management, policy implementation and communications development.
He also served as the Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District (RSD) from 2012 to 2017. In 2014, the New Orleans RSD became the nation’s first school district comprised entirely of charter schools. Under his leadership, the RSD made significant progress in transforming the most chronically low performing schools in Louisiana—nearly eliminating failing schools in New Orleans. Patrick helped design EnrollNOLA, the centralized enrollment system for New Orleans that provides families with equitable, transparent access to schools. Under his leadership, the RSD reduced expulsions through a common hearing office, passed an equitable school funding policy that takes the unique needs of each student into account, and progressed through the largest school construction project in the nation’s history. Dobard also led efforts to develop New Orleans Youth Opportunity Center to serve high-needs students at risk of dropping out and the Therapeutic Day Program, which serves students with severe behavioral health disabilities. Prior to leaving the RSD, Dobard, in collaboration with the Orleans Parish School Board, managed the process to unify New Orleans two school districts (RSD and OPSB).
Patrick is a native New Orleanian and a career educator.
John White serves as Chief Success Officer at Great Minds, the fast-growing developer of Eureka Math, Wit & Wisdom, Geodes, and other highly rated curricula used across the country. John’s role to assure the successful implementation of curriculum for millions of U.S. school children, leading the company’s professional services offerings, digital capabilities, research team, and virtual and in-person school models.
John previously served as Louisiana State Superintendent of Education. Over nine years, he led nationally recognized efforts to unify the state’s fragmented early childhood system, to modernize curriculum, to professionalize educator preparation, to provide pathways to prosperity for all high school graduates, and to rebuild the New Orleans public school system in the decade following Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana’s class of 2019 included 5,000 more graduates than did the class of 2012. Five thousand more students in that class earned the state’s TOPS college scholarship, and 5,000 more enrolled in college after graduating high school. In that time, the number of Louisiana students earning Advanced Placement early college credits increased by 167 percent, and Louisiana now ranks number one in the nation in the percentage of high school seniors completing an application for higher education financial aid.
In 2019, Louisiana students ranked first in the nation for improvement in 8th grade mathematics on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). Over the decade spanning John’s tenure, Louisiana ranked in the top 10 states for improvement on every one of the four main NAEP tests.
Prior to being named State Superintendent, John served as Superintendent of the Louisiana Recovery School District, leading the renovation of public schools in New Orleans in the years after Hurricane Katrina. He previously served under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein as Deputy Chancellor for the New York City Department of Education and served as Executive Director of Teach For America – Chicago and Teach For America – New Jersey. He began his career as an English teacher at William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey.
John is co-founder of Propel America, a non-profit start-up connecting recent high school graduates with good first jobs, and Watershed Advisors, a consultancy to governments scaling high-impact education initiatives. He is a former director at Great Minds PBC and an Education Advisory Council member at the global consultancy Alvarez & Marsal. John earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in public administration from New York University. In 2022, he completes a doctoratal degree in education from Johns Hopkins University.
John lives in New Orleans with his wife and three children
Walter J. Leger, III
On January 1, 2023, Walt Leger will become the President and CEO of New Orleans & Company, the official destination marketing and sales organization for the tourism industry of New Orleans. Representing over 1100 member businesses, New Orleans & Company’s goal is to celebrate, promote, support, cultivate and maintain the culture of the city of New Orleans and the residents that create it. By creating a virtuous cycle between the businesses and attractions that make up the tourism industry, the visitors and the people of New Orleans, New Orleans and Company helps to drive significant revenue to support city services. As our promotion of the city continues and the city’s offerings evolve, we will continue to support New Orleans’ culture by providing more career opportunities than any other industry in the region and by generating revenues to fuel a vibrant economy in which all residents can find a path to prosperity.
Walt is well-known in the state of Louisiana as a strategic thinker and fierce advocate. First as an Assistant District Attorney in New Orleans and later as an attorney with the law firm of Leger & Shaw, Walt has been a zealous advocate for his clients and victims of violent crime. Just out of lawschool, Walt served the people of the City of New Orleans as an Assistant District Attorney specializing in the prosecution of violent offenders and drug traffickers. He tried countless cases before Judges and Juries and earned the respect of his peers and opponents as aggressive, fair and just.
Walt is a proud graduate of Louisiana State University. In 2018 he was inducted into the LSU Hall of Distinction and chosen as the Young Almnus of the Year. After graduating from Louisiana State University with numerous honors, Walt attended Tulane Law School, earning a certificate of specialization in Admiralty & Maritime Law and his Juris Doctor. At Tulane, Walt served as the Business Editor of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal, the Editor-in-Chief of the Tulane Environmental Law Newsletter, 1L Class President, and Student Bar Association Vice-President. He currently serves on the Tulane University President’s Council and on the Advisory Board of the Ogden LSU Honors College.
Walt was elected by acclamation in 2012 and again in 2016 to serve as the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives, the youngest member to ever serve in this 2nd highest ranking position in the Louisiana House of Representatives. He was first elected to be the State Representative for District 91 with 65% of the vote in the fall of 2007, and re-elected without opposition in 2011 and 2015. In the Legislature, he represented parts of Uptown, Central City, the Lower Garden District, the Irish Channel, Broadmoor, Marleyville Gert Town and Hollygrove in New Orleans.
In the Legislature, Leger was a senior member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, as well as the House Education Committee, House Judiciary Committee, House Criminal Justice Committee, House Executive Committee, House Select Committee on Homeland Security, The Energy Council, the Justice Reinvestment Task Force, Multimodal Commerce Advisory Commission, Executive Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference of State Governments, and the Council of State Governments Governing Board for 2017-2018. In October 2012, Leger was elected to the Chairmanship of the Southern Rail Commission formerly known as the Southern High Speed Rail Commission. For many years, Leger served as the Chairman of the Louisiana Juvenile Justice Reform Implementation Commission. On the National Level, Leger served a co-chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures Committee of Health and Human Services for two years. In 2015 he was awarded a Rodel Fellowship of Public Leadership at the Aspen Institute. The Fellowship seeks to enhance our democracy by identifying and bringing together the nation’s most promising young political leaders to explore, through study and conversation, the underlying values and principles of western democracy, the relationship between individuals and their community, and the responsibilities of public leadership; to support and inspire political leaders committed to sustaining the vision of a political system based on thoughtful and civil bipartisan dialogue; and to help America’s brightest young leaders achieve their fullest potential in public service.
Walt has been widely recognized and acclaimed as a problem solver, a consensus builder and someone who gets results. Since 2008, Leger has passed over 125 pieces of legislation. His support for tax, revenue and budget reform and stabilization, strategic infrastructure investments particularly for our Ports, rail and multi-modal facilities, Criminal Justice Reform and Reinvestment, Early Childhood Care and Education, Education Reform and Economic Development has been recognized nationally and across the state with dozens of awards naming him a legislative champion, legislator of the year, or advocate of year.
Walt is regularly called upon to lecture at Continuing Legal Education programs for lawyers and Judges through the Louisiana State Bar Association, the New Orleans Bar Association and other organizations. Walt is a founding board member and Vice President of the Louisiana Institute for Children in Families, which focuses on foster youth and adoption as a method for ensuring every child in Louisiana is loved and cared for. Walt currently services as a board member of: the US Travel Association (Executive Committee), Louisiana Travel Association, Goodwill Industries of Louisiana, Louisiana Appleseed, Early Partners, the Business Council of New Orleans, the Anti-Defamation League, GNO, Inc., the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, and the Louisiana Children’s Museum. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Judicial College and has lectured regularly over the years at Tulane University School of Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, LSU Law School, Tulane University, the Loyola University Institute of Politics, and at conferences around the country. Walt is also an adjunct professor of Law at Loyola University New Orleans, College of Law.
Leger currently resides in New Orleans with his wife, Danielle and daughters Cate and Caroline.
Honors and Awards include:
2022 CityBusiness, “Power 20” in New Orleans Tourism and Hospitality
2021 Biz New Orleans, New Orleans 500
2021 SuperLawyer, Transportation and Maritime Attorney
2019 Louisiana Institute for Children in Families Statewide Angel Award
2019 Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Legislative Champion
2019 Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, Triple Crown Award
2019 Friend of the Hospitality Industry Award
2019 Historic Tax Credit Champion Award
2019 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2018 Louisiana State University, Hall of Distinction, Young Alumnus of the Year,
2018 Public Service Award, Louisiana Association for Justice,
2018 Rural Jobs Coalition , Louisiana Legislator of the Year,
2018 Regional Policy Award for Coastal Restoration, Ecological Society of America,
2018 National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Champion of Music;
2018 Louisiana Budget Project, Legislative Leadership Award
2018 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2017 Life and Liberty Award, Louisiana Family Forum for achievement in Criminal Justice Reform, 2017 Champion for Children, Childcare Association of Louisiana,
2017 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2017 The National Trial Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40, Civil Litigation,
2016 Outstanding National Achievement in State Tax Reform by The Tax Foundation,
2016 United Way Louisiana Public Policy Champion,
2016 Champion of Community Healthcare Award, 504Health Network,
2016 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2015 Aspen Institute Rodel Fellowship,
2015 Champion for Children, Childcare Association of Louisiana,
2015 Whole Child Champion, Childhood & Family Learning Foundation,
2015 Legislative Champion, Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association,
2015 Outstanding Legislator, LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation,
2015 LSU Greek Excellence Award,
2015 Education Choice Champion by Louisiana Federation for Children,
2015 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2014 Legislative Champion of the Year, Louisiana Primary Care Association,
2014 Vocational Rehabilitation Champion, Louisiana Rehabilitation Council,
2014 Legislative Champion, Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association,
2014 Transit Champion, Ride New Orleans,
2014 Legislator of the Year, Childcare Association of Louisiana,
2014 Legislative Leadership Award, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans,
2014 Preservation Partner by Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation,
2014 Champion of the Coast Award by the Meraux Foundation,
2014 Mondale-Brooke Award for Fair Housing Leadership and Civic Participation by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center,
2014 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2013 Libby Milton Champion for Children Award,
2013 Legislative Champion by Louisiana Industrial Development Executives Association,
2013 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2013 Champion of Small Business by National Coalition for Capital,
2013 Legislator of the Year, Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits Community Development Awards, 2012 Louey Award for Legislative Leadership by the Louisiana Tourism Industry and the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association,
2012 Outstanding Legislator Award presented by Victims & Citizens Against Crime Inc.,
2012 Advocate of the Year by the Louisiana Restaurant Association,
2012 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2011 Legislator of the Year by the Alliance for Good Government of New Orleans,
2011 Crimestoppers Champion Award,
2011 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion,
2010 Legislative Champion Award by the Louisiana Council of YMCA’s,
2010 National Award for Leadership in Juvenile Justice Reform from the National Juvenile Justice Network,
2010 Nurse-Family Partnership Champions Award,
2010 Chamber Southwest Louisiana, Legis-gator Business Champion
2009 Legislator of the Year Award by the Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families.
Alexina Medley recently retired after 40 years in education. She worked as a special education teacher and an administrator, and most recently was the beloved principal of Warren Easton Charter High School for over a decade.