After 49 years in public education, with 40 of those years served at Lusher Elementary and Lusher Charter School, Chief Executive Officer Kathy Hurstell Riedlinger is stepping down from her role as CEO at the end of the current school year. Effective Jan. 28, Riedlinger transitioned into an advisory role to support Deputy CEO Nicolette London, who will assume the reins as interim CEO, pending the Lusher Board’s selection of a permanent CEO. Riedlinger’s tenure at Lusher will officially end in June 2022. “Working with the support of so many in our school system and community, we have created one of the finest public schools in the history of New Orleans,” Riedlinger said in a press release.
In true collaborative spirit, Lusher Charter School engineering teacher Matthew Owen and his wife, Laura, are working with Tulane Medical School and local hospitals to create much-needed personal protective equipment, or PPE, for New Orleans hospital employees to protect them from COVID-19. The Owens are working with medical students and other engineers and students on designs for PPE. Laura Owen, a support services teacher at Lusher, spearheaded the effort with medical students who contacted hospitals about their needs. When they discovered that the teachers had access to Lusher’s 3D printers, the med students planned a Zoom call with the couple and developed a design to print. With permission from the school, the Owens brought three 3D printers and supplies home to begin the project.
Five Lusher Charter School seniors have been named Posse Foundation scholars: Kierra McDowell, Illinois Wesleyan University; Bryce Langford, University of Notre Dame; Kaysie Ratliff, University of Notre Dame; Jordan Fields, Illinois Wesleyan University; and Lucia Garcia, Case Western Reserve. Posse scholars receive full-tuition scholarships. The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits and trains individuals with leadership potential. The Posse model works for both students and college campuses and is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students — a carefully selected and trained Posse — can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development. As the United States becomes an increasingly multicultural society, Posse believes that the leaders of the 21st century should reflect the country’s rich demographic mix.
Lusher Charter School is pleased to announce that four seniors have been named QuestBridge Scholars: Kimani Coye, Vanderbilt University; Kiya Henderson, Pomona College; Mayela Norwood, Claremont McKenna College, and Amaris Lewis, Stanford University. College Match Scholarship Recipients are admitted early to QuestBridge college partners with guaranteed, full four-year scholarships that are provided by the colleges and universities. At Lusher, students choose an area of concentrated electives with focused courses. Kimani is receiving a certificate of artistry in visual arts; Kiya is completing a certificate of artistry in musical theater; Amaris is in the engineering design and development program; and Mayela, the biomedical innovation program. The National College Match is a highly competitive process drawing applications from students across the country.
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 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.
The vast majority of the crowd of nearly 100 people packed into the Lusher Charter School board meeting on Saturday bore some sort of insignia. Some wore white ‘UTL’ buttons with the logo of the United Teachers of Lusher; others carried handmade signs with slogans like “No Union;” and most on both sides had some variation of the Lusher logo on T-shirts in the school’s signature deep blue. Many of them — again, on both sides — also had questions, mostly when they will get to air their views on whether and how the school leadership should recognize efforts to form a teachers’ union. The board gave them little in the way of answers on Saturday morning, but promised not to make a decision before hearing from them in the very near future. Saturday morning’s meeting of the Lusher Charter School governing board was technically called for only two narrow purposes: to hire a lawyer to advise the board on the labor issues, and to go into a closed-door session to hear that lawyer’s advice.
A Lusher High School senior has been chosen out of 13,000 students across the country as a 2014 National Student Poet by First Lady Michelle Obama, and joined her at the White House this week for a poetry reading. Madeleine LeCesne, 18, is pursuing a Certificate of Artistry in creative writing at Lusher. For details about her award at the White House, see the following news release from Lusher Charter School:
Lusher Charter School senior Madeleine LeCesne, 18, was among five students appointed as a 2014 National Student Poet at the White House today by First Lady Michelle Obama. The First Lady hosted a poetry reading in the Student Poet’s honor where LeCesne and fellow honorees read original poems for the audience. The five recipients were chosen from over 13,000 entries nationwide for the honor.
The Lusher High School “I am” marketing campaign took top honors at the Trust Your Crazy Ideas challenge presented by Saints quarterback Drew Brees and the Idea Village, according to our partners at WWL. Also competing were the Isidore Newman School, Walter L. Cohen and St. Augustine, and each team was awarded $2,500 to continue their efforts.
When the Master Plan for distributing a $2 billion FEMA payment for school rebuilding was approved last year, officials hailed it as a panacea of sorts that would ensure every Orleans Parish student is at least in a building that is “warm, safe and dry.” Now, school leaders are unsure the money will even go that far. “Unless construction is under way, every project might see some cuts,” said Orleans Parish School Board member Lourdes Moran. “The Master Plan has to be reopened.” The Master Plan approved last year calls for a combination of building state-of-the-art new schools in some communities hardest hit by the flooding after Hurricane Katrina, such as the Dunbar site in Hollygrove, while repairing those that are usable but still have major structural damage, such as those used by Lusher and Audubon charter schools.
Lusher Charter School leaders are meeting with engineers and consultants in preparation to major repairs at both of its school buildings, while continuing to look for more space for students at the satellite campus. Engineers and architects are working all over the Fortier building on Freret as they plan for repairs there, officials said. Principal Wiley Ates said he hopes the first item repaired will be the roof, since the majority of water damage around the rest of the campus comes from its problems, and the work could be begun without displacing students. “They could do that without interrupting school or anything else,” Ates said at Saturday morning’s meeting of the Lusher governing board. “We’ve found that the roof is the biggest part of the problem, more than the windows or the bricks.”