Jan 112018

Three finalists have been selected in the search for a new CEO of the New Orleans College Prep charter network, school officials announced this week.

The finalists are Joel Castro, Adam Meinig, and Thomas Shepley, chosen from a field of 14 applicants, the school announced.

Castro served as associate superintendent of the Lubbock Independent School District until last year, and previously served as principal of a high school in Houston, according to his application. In 2013, he was named “Administrator of the Year” by the Lubbock Classroom Teachers Association. He is now living in New Orleans while finishing a doctorate in education from the University of Texas this spring, his resume notes.

“I believe that it is incumbent upon schools and school systems to engage students during the captured academic day through engaging curricula, student-centered instruction, a well-trained faculty driven by the same mission and vision, strong academic support and extracurricular programming, and a leadership team that is tireless in striving for best practices and outcomes for ALL students!” Castro wrote in his cover letter applying for the post.

Meinig is chief of leadership development at Collegiate Academies in New Orleans and an educational consultant, as well as founder of KIPP Believe College Prep. He began his teaching career in 2000 at Langston Hughes Elementary in New Orleans, and now has a master’s degree in education from National Louis University in Chicago.

Meinig “led KIPP Believe to the highest school performance scores of all New Orleans RSD schools over the course of the eight years following Hurricane Katrina,” Meinig wrote in his resume, noting that 94 percent of his students graduated in four years and go to college.

Thomas Shepley is a vice president at New Schools for New Orleans and has been with the organization since 2009, following a year as a managing director for Teach for America in New Orleans. He has past classroom experience as an elementary school teacher and principal in Baltimore and Detroit dating back to 1992, and a 2003 Ph.D. in education from the University of Michigan.

At New Schools for New Orleans, Shepley led a team seeking to create 50,000 seats for high-school students in high-performing schools, offering direct support to school leaders in partnered charter organizations. “Direct support includes managing positions that select, train and coach a cohort of school leaders and principal managers, conduct CMO and school quality reviews, lead school level instructional rounds, provide high–touch school support, run programming for success on the ACT, early learning instruction and special education settings,” Shepley wrote.

The application process is now closed, although the College Prep board’s CEO Search Committee is continuing to review the candidates in anticipation of bringing the finalists to tour the charter network’s campuses later this month, according to an update from the committee.

“At this point, the Search Committee has identified three candidates to bring to our campuses for additional, in-person interviews during the month of January,” the committee reported. “Each of these candidates brings deep experience leading schools and organizations and we are excited to continue the process with them.”

Feedback from teachers, families and other stakeholder groups will be conveyed to the full College Prep board, which will make a final decision on the new school leader. The committee may name additional finalists as the process continues, but is on track to finish the process by March.

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