Education Panel and Discussion Series

Tulane University serves as a forum where members from the local and campus communities can receive information about relevant topics in education from local, regional, and national perspectives, informing their understanding of pertinent issues and concerns facing the education community. Speakers, discussions, and panels focus on a range of themes, such as innovation in education, educational accountability, community partnering and collaboration, and educational equity. Panels are open to the Tulane community and the public free of charge.

Upcoming Programs:

Innovation in Public Education Panel

When: 2/29/2012 @ 7:00PM (reception to follow)

Where: Kendall Cram Room (213), Lavin Bernick Center for University Life, Tulane Uptown Campus. For a campus map, click here.

See the event on Facebook

For more information contact: Alex Hand,

Join us on February 29th for a panel event hosted in coordination with CACTUS Academic Equality/Awareness week, and co-sponsored by Tulane Center for Public Service and the Tulane Office of Social Entrepreneurship.

This panel is designed to highlight how entrepreneurship and innovation have, and continue to play a key role in public education. New Orleans has the largest percentage of public charter schools (77%) in the nation. Because charter schools are afforded greater autonomy than their traditional counterparts, charter schools encourage an ecosystem of creativity and entrepreneurialism. Myriad education for-profit and nonprofit organizations have also grown out of the New Orleans education system over the past six years. Each panel member was selected because of the role they have played in bringing improved results to education in the New Orleans community and across the globe, through a new and innovative approach.

The event will be free and open to the public. A networking reception will be held following the panel where refreshments will be served.

Meet the Panel Members


Matt Candler, CEO, 4.0 Schools

Matt Candler is the founder of 4.0 Schools, an education innovation incubator that equips teams of leaders to launch schools and education businesses in the Southeastern US that redefine how we use talent, technology and other resources. He is a former teacher and middle school coach. He studied decision sciences and the emerging charter school sector at the Kellogg School of Management. Matt has served as a founding co-principal of a North Carolina K-8 charter school. He became the founding COO of the New York City Center for Charter School Excellence. Matt also helped to launch charter schools in the Southeast, and served for four years as KIPP Foundation’s Vice President of School Development.

Locally, Matt has also served New Schools for New Orleans as CEO and is the current chairman of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.

Panel Members: 

Jay Altman, CEO, FirstLine Schools

Jay Altman is the co-founder of FirstLine Schools. He taught in the city of New Orleans for several years before co-founding New Orleans Charter Middle School and James Lewis Extension School. In addition to FirstLine, he went on to become a founder of New Orleans OutreachNew Orleans Summerbridge (now known as Breakthrough New Orleans), and Leading Educators.

During some time spent overseas, Jay served as director of education for London-based ARK schools from 2005 to 2008. He helped develop a British network of charter-like schools in urban environments and was instrumental in establishing two training programs for school leadership, Future Leaders and Teaching Leaders.

Sarah Baird, Founder, Takeashine

Sarah Baird launched a pilot program of Takeashine, a nonprofit corporation that will enable low-income students to crowdfund money for college in the fall of 2011. The program will officially be made available to all students in the city of New Orleans in the spring of 2012, with planned expansion to three new cities per year from 2012-2015. She currently serves as the Communications Director at the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools.

Before moving to New Orleans, Sarah worked to re-launch the African Studies Center at Eastern Kentucky University. She has lead communications and media strategies for a wide variety of non-profit organizations, and political constituents.

Andrea Chen, Executive Director, Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans

Andrea Chen is the co-founder and Executive Director of Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans (SENO). Along with her co-founder Morgan Williams, Andrea revived SENO post-Katrina to consist of people who see opportunities to make a significant social impact in society.

Andrea’s educational career includes teaching High School English at John McDonogh High School, Lusher Charter School, and the New Orleans Science and Math Charter High School. She also was an instructor at theUniversity Of New Orleans Graduate School Of Education. She has supervised the development of new teachers through the New Teacher Project and Teach for America. Most recently, she served as the Quality Initiatives Director of the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools. She also founded a local program called First Book – Greater New Orleans, providing new books to children in great need.

Past Programs:

Lecture with Mike Feinberg, Co-founder of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation

On September 15, 2011, we learned how KIPP is closing the achievement gap in over 100 charter schools across the country, including nine in New Orleans. We left knowing that success is possible for all children. View a streamed video of the entire lecture below.

Click here to view the recorded video of Mike Feinberg’s lecture.

Other events have included a panel on accountability that provided an overview of standards, assessments, and accountability systems from federal, state, and local perspectives. It considered the politics and policies of public school accountability and explored whether assessments, standards, and accountability can be used effectively to drive academic excellence, promote greater student achievement, and create a culture of learning. Another panel focused on equity and considered how public school choice affects educational access and opportunity, as well as the extent to which meaningful choice and equity can be realized in a system of decentralized public schools.

Please check back here again for information about upcoming panels and forums.

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