NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA (January 21, 2020) – NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS), New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO), and Xavier University hosted the “Supporting Public School Teachers” press conference on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 9:30am at Xavier University in order to celebrate OPSB’s commitment of funding from the System Wide Needs Fund for teacher programs. 

January 21, 2020

New Orleans has a crisis of teacher recruitment and retention in our city - over 900 teachers are leaving their roles each year. One of the best ways to work on this challenge is to focus on our teacher preparation programs. We have seen productive collaboration across the board - from Xavier’s Norman C. Francis Teacher Residency, to Loyola University, to TeachNOLA, to Teach For America, to the University of New Orleans, to the Relay Graduate School of Education. Together, our collective work resulted in more than 250 new teachers for our city’s schools. Over 60% of the new teachers recruited through these programs have been people of color.  

Because of the leadership of Dr. Lewis and the Orleans Parish School Board, we are putting dollars behind these crucial programs. OPSB passed the System Wide Needs Fund on January 16, allocating funding to go to talent initiatives such as Xavier’s, UNO’s, and Relay’s. In making this choice, they demonstrate their dedication to our city’s teachers, and through that, our children. 

“Quality, talented teachers have the inherent ability to open our students’ eyes and minds to new opportunities and to prepare them to achieve their educational dreams,” said Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “The systemwide needs program will allow us to invest in two critical areas that support our schools: our teacher workforce as well as behavioral and mental health supports for our students. We believe that this program will help us attract, continually develop, and retain teachers from diverse backgrounds,  especially those with local roots, in turn, helping our children flourish.”

Patrick Dobard, CEO of New School for New Orleans, said, “The work of ensuring that every student has a quality teacher - like all our work in education - is complex, nuanced, and hard. But thanks to the incredible work of NOLA-PS, the Orleans Parish School Board members, and partners such as Xavier University and UNO, we are taking important steps to support our city’s teachers, and through that, our children.”

“Continued funding for recruitment and retention of an educated and diverse core of teachers is critical to improving the K-12 education,” said Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University of Louisiana. “Through the partnership with NOLA-PS, UNO and New School for New Orleans, we will be able to assure necessary support for our teachers. It is our duty to educate and prepare the next generation of educators for the city of New Orleans.” 


NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish, which includes the district’s elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board and the district’s administration led by NOLA Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 78 public schools. For more information, visit

New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) is a non-profit that delivers on the promise of excellent public schools for every child in New Orleans. NSNO focuses on solutions and programming addressing city-wide Talent, Instructional Quality, Policy, Portfolio, and Communications.

Xavier University of Louisiana

Being America’s only historically Black and Catholic University is just the first of the distinctions that have set Xavier University of Louisiana apart for more than eight decades. Despite its relatively small size (3,300 students), Xavier is a nationally recognized leader in the STEM and the health sciences, producing more African American students who graduate from medical schools each year than any other university in the United States. Its College of Pharmacy is among the top producers of African American pharmacists.


Its liberal arts-based programs in such areas as art, business, education, psychology, and political science – as well as such recent additions as bioinformatics, data science, neuroscience, crime and social justice, and jazz studies – offer students an unbeatable combination of traditional classroom study, hands-on research, service-learning opportunities, and life experiences. The winning Xavier formula? Provide students with a well-balanced curriculum and an environment that nurtures their intellect and feeds their souls.


For more information about Xavier University of Louisiana visit us online at or follow us on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter @XULA1925. To book interviews and/or to speak with our experts in the field of pharmacy, education, premed, public health, science, technology, math, business, English, communications, and the arts, contact Chelsea Cunningham at (504) 520-5425 or

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