As the nation recently paused to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I have found it difficult to overlook much of the corresponding commentary offered about New Orleans’ hotly debated education reform movement. While many conscious observers have remained fixated on topics such as school choice and reform sustainability – for me, the most compelling discussions emerging out of this debate have been about what’s actually happening in the schools themselves. Whatever your politics may be – there is no question that the work of modern education reform must extend beyond the classroom.
Having recently completed week 1 of the new school year, I am pleased to announce that we are off to a fantastic start. Last Monday, we happily welcomed over 1600 students and a staff numbering 192 in all.
Represented among those faithful 192 staff members is an impressive collection of professional educators. We have people like Mr. Raynard Oliver, a 35-year veteran mathematics teacher who has been with Banneker since its opening in 1988. We also have new additions like Ms. Marie Ojofeitimi, a very talented Teach for America Corps member from Long Island, New York. She will be teaching a variety of English courses. I could mention several more individuals on our team, but Mr. Oliver and Ms. Ojofeitimi represent the whole of Banneker’s instructional staff – a combination of experienced and novice teachers who share in the work of teaching our students. It has been my good fortune to work alongside them during the summer months and now into the early weeks of the new-year.