Lusher CEO Kathy Riedlinger receives national award for school leadership

Lusher CEO Kathy Riedlinger

Lusher CEO Kathy Riedlinger

Lusher Charter School CEO Kathy Hurstell Riedlinger was awarded the 2018 Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Joined by New Orleans School Board Superintendent Henderson Lewis, she received the U.S. Department of Education award during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Lusher Charter School, which consistently ranks as one of the best in the state, will receive its second National Blue Ribbon School award. (Robert Morris,

Lusher Charter School will also be named a 2018 Blue Ribbon School at a ceremony on Nov. 8.

The Bell Award is a Lifetime Achievement Award for a leader in transforming local public schooling. Riedlinger is the only school leader being given the Bell Lifetime Achievement Award, a designation given by her peers at the national and local level.

Kathy Riedlinger, who became principal at Lusher in 1981, directs the largest charter school in Orleans Parish, serving more than 1,800 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Uptown New Orleans. She is the longest continually serving principal currently employed in a public school in Orleans Parish.

“Kathy is a CEO with a vision, with a heart, with superb talent in finding and hiring excellent teachers, mentoring them, buffering them and letting them teach,” said Ken Ducote, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Collaborative of Charter Schools. “Above all, she is the great communicator of her vision, the courageous cheerleader of her troops, the seasoned expert in student learning and the arts. Ms. Riedlinger has created a legacy for thousands of students and, on behalf of the community, we are all grateful.”

The school consistently ranks as one of the best in the state of Louisiana and will receive its second National Blue Ribbon School award.

Named for the second U. S. Secretary of Education, the Bell Award honors school leaders who are committed to education and improving outcomes for all students. The award is part of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. Principals are nominated by their school communities during the final stages of the National Blue Ribbon Schools application process.

“We know strong school leadership is a driving force behind ensuring students and teachers succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “I’m pleased to recognize these talented Bell Award winners who are helping to lead needed transformations at the most local level.”

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