NEW ORLEANS – After proudly spending nearly half of his 25-year career in education serving the students and families of New Orleans, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. announced today he will not renew his contract with the Orleans Parish School Board for another term.
“I am proud of NOLA Public Schools. I am proud of our staff, our teachers, our school leaders and most of all, our students and families,” Dr. Lewis said. “And with all journeys, there comes times for new direction and new leadership. I believe now is the time now for new voices, new dreams, and new visionaries to carry NOLA Public Schools into the future.”
On March 18, 2015, Dr. Lewis became one of the youngest superintendents to serve in the 180-year history of this City’s public school system. With his decades of educational experience as a teacher, mentor, assistant principal, instructional coach, curriculum expert, principal, and school district leader, Dr. Lewis brought a unique, classroom-focused perspective to the table.
Dr. Lewis has been at the helm of NOLA-PS for more than six years, overseeing the historic 2018 unification of public schools in New Orleans under local control; the establishment of the District as a supporter of our school community while holding each operator to high education standards; and celebrating through it all the achievements of our teachers, support staff, and students. Throughout his tenure, he has not wavered from his mission as a protector of family and student rights and a thoughtful steward of public resources.
New Orleans’ community of schools is better structured today than ever before. Our students’ learning levels improved during his time, with nearly 80% of District schools scoring an ‘A’ or ‘B’ in 2019 for progress. Our schools have consistently shown their dedication to developing every child, academically, socially, emotionally, every day. Over the past year, Dr. Lewis built partnerships, used data to drive decisions, and led NOLA-PS through the COVID-19 pandemic. That work has helped NOLA-PS lead the way nationally to reopen schools, gain access to COVID testing, and secure access to vaccines for teachers, staff, and students. His quick work in March of 2019 led to the commitment of $5 million for technology at the start of the pandemic, helping schools deliver thousands of laptops and hotspots to New Orleans families.
“Throughout Dr. Lewis’ tenure, our District has accomplished much, even in the face of insurmountable challenges, like the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said School Board President Ethan Ashley. “While his tenure is coming to a close, we are grateful he is here to help begin the planning for the District’s next phase, including our strategic planning process and racial equity audit. Moving forward, our board will meet this month to discuss next steps, including a comprehensive, transparent and equitable superintendent search process; and we welcome the challenge of attracting and identifying an equity minded leader to continue improving our school district for our students, teachers, staff, families, and community.”
Before leading New Orleans’ school district, Dr. Lewis was a celebrated superintendent for East Feliciana Parish. Under his leadership, that district was recognized by the Louisiana Department of Education as 2nd in the state for elementary student academic growth.
Prior to becoming superintendent in East Feliciana, Dr. Lewis worked for the Algiers Charter Schools Association for six years, serving as the founding principal at Algiers Technology Academy. He taught for seven years at neighboring St. Bernard Parish Public Schools and represented District 9 on the St. Bernard Parish Public School Board for 11 years.