Reflections on Public Education

in New Orleans

16 Voices

5 Questions

In order to offer a variety of perspectives on public education in New Orleans, the Cowen Institute interviewed 16 political and education leaders prior to the release of this report. A compilation video of their reflections can be viewed on this page, as well as videos of their full individual interviews.


Each interviewee was asked the same five questions:

  • How long have you been in New Orleans and what has your role in education been?
  • Can you give a brief account of what has happened in PK-12 education over the past ten years?
  • What has taken place in PK-12 education over the past decade that you do not think would have happened before the storm?
  • What would you want people to know about the system of schools in New Orleans that they may not see at first glance?
  • What do you hope will happen in our schools over the next ten years?


Interviews have been minimally edited in order to keep each between five and ten minutes in length.

Thank you to Ryan Rivet, who filmed most of the videos, and Dennis Johnson, for filming Supt. Lewis, Jr. & Stan Smith.

List of Interviewees

Jay Altman

LaToya Cantrell

Scott Cowen

Mitchell Landrieu

Patrick Dobard

Doris Hicks

Leslie Jacobs

Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise

Henderson Lewis

Erika McConduit-Diggs

Alexina Medley

Dr. Andre Perry

Aesha Rasheed

Stan Smith

Sarah Usdin

John White

Co-Founder & CEO, FirsLine Schools

New Orleans City Councilmember

President Emeritus, Tulane University

Mayor of the City of New Orleans

Superintendent, Recovery School District

CEO, Friends of King

Founder of Educate Now!

Executive Director, KIPP New Orleans

Superintendent, OPSB

President and CEO, Urban League of Greater New Orleans

Principal, Warren Easton High School

New Orleans Education Scholar

Author of New Orleans Parents Guide

Chief Financial Officer, OPSB

OPSB Board Member

Louisiana State Superintendent of Education