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Drinking from a Fire Hydrant: New Orleans New Superintendent’s Singular To-Do List

Avis Williams, the new Superintendent of New Orleans public schools, is a dynamic and engaging leader. She also faces unique challenges and opportunities as she leads the nation’s only all-charter school system through its post-pandemic and post-Hurricane Ida recovery. In bringing her on-board, the school board identified three priorities: figuring out how to evaluate schools without dest data for 2020 and 2021, making the evaluation system fairer and more transparent, and managing ongoing school closing and consolidations due to enrollment declines. 

“She comes into her job as superintendent of New Orleans at such an interesting time for education in this country as a whole, and in this community,” says Caroline Roemer, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools. “New Orleans students were out of school due to the pandemic really for a solid two years. That in itself has caused us to think about how we are determining what a successful school looks like.”

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