Kaharick named New Orleans College Prep acting CEO for 2017-18


Natalie Kaharick (via NOLA College Prep)

Natalie Kaharick will remain the acting CEO of the New Orleans College Prep charter network for another year, overseeing the challenges that accompany both the organization’s search for a long-term leader and the decision whether it can retain the right to operate Sylvanie Williams elementary.

Until the last school year, Kaharick had led operations for the charter network while founder Ben Kleban was its CEO. When Kleban resigned during the fall semester after his election to the Orleans Parish School Board, Kaharick and Dr. Andy Parker became co-CEOs of the network, but Parker also resigned unexpectedly after several months, leaving Kaharick as the de facto leader of the network for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year.

During that time, Kaharick has not only managed the leadership transition away from the school’s founder, but also the academic struggle to retain the charter for Sylvanie Williams Elementary, the expansion of the Hoffman preschool project, and managing a budget deficit created by both efforts.

The College Prep board had already begun the process of a search for a new permanent CEO, but after a brief executive session at their meeting last week, voted unanimously to extend Kaharick a contract for another full year as acting CEO. Board chair Peter Harding thanked Kaharick for her hard work in a “difficult time” over the past year.

“We all agree we’d be dead in the water if you weren’t sitting in that chair,” Harding said at the June 5 meeting.

Kaharick said after the meeting that she is interested in applying for the permanent CEO position, but only if her skills match the vision for a new leader that the board lays out. The board plans to hold training sessions with a consultant to refine members’ concept of what is needed in the new CEO.

Kenneth Polite, a former U.S. Attorney and former College Prep board member, attended the meeting and urged the board from the audience to ensure that they consider input from the broadest aspects of the school’s community in the search process.

To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below.

Live Blog New Orleans College Prep board meeting – June 5, 2017

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