In 1st interview, New Orleans’ next superintendent shares plans to lead all-charter district

ByAubri Juhasz

Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. is set to leave New Orleans Public Schools when his contract expires at the end of June. His replacement, Avis Williams, is the first woman elected to permanently lead the district in its more than 180-year history.

In her first interview as superintendent-elect, Williams told education reporter Aubri Juhasz about her accomplishments as the current head of public schools in Selma, Alabama, what attracted her to New Orleans and how she plans to lead the country’s only all-charter public school system.

The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Aubri Juhasz: What attracted you to this job and to New Orleans as a place to live and work? 

Avis Williams: First of all, I love New Orleans and it doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge New Orleans Saints fan. I love the culture, the music. I’ve actually attended a few of the festivals, but really just loved being there even during non-festival times where you just really get to see authentic New Orleans.

But what really attracted me to the job is some of what makes it complicated and challenging, honestly. I am really built for doing work around families in need. I grew up in poverty myself, and I am a firm believer that education saved my life. So my life’s journey has been serving populations of students who look like me and really engaging with communities to pour into not just the educational aspect of it, but even just the overall wellness of a community.

That’s what I’ve enjoyed most about being in Selma and I really see a lot of the work as being very similar.

Read the full article here.