Leadership Team and Administration Staff

 

Meghan Raychaudhuri, Head of School

Ms. Meghan Raychaudhuri graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in public policy and economics.  She has a law degree from Tulane University and an LLM in tax from Villanova University.  Meghan is admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  After several years practicing law, she served as a tax and economic fellow to United States Senator Tom Carper of Delaware and served a limited duration appointment as an Administrative Law Judge for the State of Oregon.  In 2013, Meghan returned to New Orleans where she worked for the Recovery School District and Firstline Schools.  She began her career at Plessy School as the Director of Operations before advancing to the Head of School role. 

*Please direct all requests for public records to: Meghan Raychaudhuri, Head of School, ACT 654

Contact Meghan Raychaudhuri at meghan@plessyschool.org

 

Kenya Hill, Assistant Principal

Ms. Kenya Hill is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, at Charlotte, where she received her Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology. She received her Master's in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University. Kenya taught for 7 years in Charlotte, 4 of which were spent incorporating art and STEM based activities into academic curriculum. She relocated with her family to New Orleans in 2014. During her time in the classroom, Kenya has written curriculum as well as coached and given feedback to teachers. In addition, she was a Fellow in the first cohort of teachers selected to participate in the Personalized Learning Fellowship in partnership with New Schools for New Orleans, with a focus on project based learning. When Kenya's not working to provide a well rounded education for students, she can be found dancing with the NOLA Nyxettes, a Mardi Gras dance troupe. You can catch her high kicking her way down St. Charles Avenue during Carnival season!

 

Adam Campagna, Director of Student Support

Mr. Adam Campagna has lived in New Orleans since 1999, and began his education career as a science and math teacher at New Orleans Charter Middle School in 2002.  Since then he has filled many roles in the educational community, often focusing on student support needs, and most recently focused on Special Education as a Special Education Coordinator.  Adam is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, has been trained and certified in various fields, and considers the education of his community his lifelong mission. Outside of school, Adam is a professional musician and plays various instruments in multiple bands, ensembles, and in recording sessions.

 

Julie Hanks, Director of Development

As the Director of Development for Homer A. Plessy Community School, Julie is responsible for the school's ongoing fundraising initiatives, donor relations, and community partnership. She has more than 15 years of experience in development, fundraising, communications, and P.R. She has served on various boards, most recently the International Association of Business Communicators. Julie is a graduate of the University of New Orleans and lives in Lakeview with her husband and daughter. She is a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants and loves hanging out in her garden. Julie really, really wants a goat.

 

Molly Trudeau, Director of Arts Integration

Information coming soon. 

 

Kristen Collier, Data Manager

Ms. Kristen Collier grew up in South Carolina and graduated from Presbyterian College. She and her husband have lived in New Orleans since 2003 and have two elementary age boys. Prior to Hurricane Katrina (and shortly after), Kristen worked with Desire Street Ministries. Along with being Plessy's Office Manager, Kristen volunteers with the After-School Program at St. Roch Community Church.

 

Tiffany Hammond, Building Operations

Information coming soon...

 

Velma Rankins, Parent Liaison 

Velma Rankins was born in California, but raised and educated in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended Mc Donogh #35 Senior High School and studied at University of New Orleans (Concentration in Studio Art Painting).  Velma is Plessy School's Parent Liaison and is bilingual (English-Spanish). This is Velma's 4th year as a Plessy parent, and in her free time,  she enjoys exploring the city for good Latin cuisine and taking pictures of public art. Velma is looking forward to working with the families at Homer Plessy to make their education experience a positive one.

 

Morgan Fry, Social Worker

Ms. Morgan Fry grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and received her bachelors in social work from Kansas State University. She moved to New Orleans fiveyears ago to complete a service term with AmeriCorps, where she began working in New Orleans schools. Morgan earned her masters in social work from Tulane in 2015 and then began working for the Recovery School District. Morgan is so excited for her second year at Plessy! In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her cat, spending time outdoors and exploring the city. 

 

James Jordan, Return to Intervention Specialist

Information coming soon...

 

Randall Montgomery, Dean of Student Behavior

Information coming soon...

 

Instructional Staff

 

Brittany Ford, PreK 4 Teacher

Information coming soon.

 

Lisa Bush, PreK 4 Teacher

Ms. Lisa Bush was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and attended public schools where she graduated from McDonough 35 College Preparatory High School.  She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Masters in Education, and is currently pursuing a Post Baccalaureate in Child Development & Family Studies from Southern University at New Orleans.  Her talent is sewing and other interests include cooking, gardening, walking, dancing, reading, traveling, counseling/mentoring, and volunteering for causes and events. 

 

Heather McIntosh, PreK 4 Teaching Assistant

Ms. Heather McIntosh and her husband moved to New Orleans from Ontario, Canada in 2008.  She is a graduate of George Brown College in Toronto. Before joining the Plessy team, Ms. Mc, as she's affectionately called,  worked as a 2nd grade teaching assistant and as a special education teaching assisstant on the Westbank.  She is excited to be at a school in her 7th Ward neighborhood as part of the Homer A. Plessy Community School family.  

 

Keirshanna Gilson, PreK 4 Teaching Assistant

Information coming soon.

 

Amie Benson, Kindergarten Teacher

Ms. Amie Benson graduated, with honors, from West Virginia University with an undergraduate degree in Multi-Disciplinary, and a Masters degree in Elementary Education with a specialization in English.  After briefly teaching Pre-K3 in Metairie, she began teaching arts-integrated Kindergarten on the West Bank.  Amie is excited to be teaching Kindergarten in the 7th Ward at Homer A. Plessy Community School (it's so close to her home in the Treme!) and is thrilled to put her artistic skills to good use in the classroom in the form of enriching and engaging projects for her students.  Outside of the classroom, Amie loves reading, painting, dancing at Second Lines, watching the Saints, and any excuse to create and wear ridiculous costumes!

 

Kyle Radish, Kindergarten Teacher

Kyle Radish graduated from both Benjamin Franklin High School and NOCCA, and consequently believes strongly in excellent public education. She attended the University of New Orleans and earned her B.A. in Sculpture, her Post-Baccalaureate certification in Early Childhood Education, and her Master's degree also in Early Childhood with a concentration in Gifted Education. She has been teaching since 2003. 

 

Alexa Oliver, Kindergarten Teaching Assistant

Mrs. Alexa Oliver is a local resident from Metairie, LA. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans. She holds a bachelor's degree with a concentration in Child and Family Development and is Early Childhood Ancillary certified in Louisiana. She is dedicated to providing support and care for the students with an emphasis on children's perspectives and emotions. She is thankful to be part of the Plessy community. Outside of school, she loves to experience the city's culture with her husband and teenage daughter. 

 

Berlyn York, Kindergarten Teaching Assistant

After almost 20 years of moving around the US as a military family, Ms. Berlyn found herself in New Orleans.  She immediately fell madly in love with it, and made it her forever home. She is the proud mother of 4 daughters (2 grown and 2 still growing) 2 dogs, and her best friend Marley her pot belly pig.  Ms. Berlyn made her mark in Treme where she lives with a successful bakery and custom desert business which allowed her the time to volunteer at her children's schools as room parent and aid.  After coming to Plessy with her youngest child, she realized that her real joy was in Kindergarten.  So, after 15 years of volunteering- she closed the bakery and made education her career.   

 

Abby Dickinson, 1st Grade Teacher

Ms. Abby Dickinson is a Pennsylvania transplant who  graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Sociology. She then went on to receive a Master's degree from LSU in Higher Education Administration in 2013. She has spent the past five years developing her skills as a teacher in New Orleans teaching kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade. She is the kind of educator who believes in fostering the social and emotional development of children in addition to making sure they receive a solid foundation academically. When she's not in the classroom Abby can be found at her local studio practicing yoga or out on the town enjoying all the great food that New Orleans has to offer! 

 

Lillie Weidner, 1st Grade Teacher

Information coming soon...

 

Sarine Fletcher, 2nd Grade, Math Teacher

Ms. Sarine Fletcher is a native New Orleanian who attended public school in Orleans parish. After graduating from Benjamin Franklin High School, she attended Loyola University New Orleans and earned a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. After working at a non-profit clinic for some time, she realized that she wanted to have a larger impact on the community and decided to become an educator. While working as student teacher, she discovered her love for early childhood education, specifically the "aha" moment that kids have when they learn something new. When she's not in the classroom, Ms. Fletcher works as a freelance makeup artist and loves to explore the different cuisines available in New Orleans. 

 

Brooke Falgout, 2nd Grade, ELA and Social Studies Teacher

Information coming soon. 

 

Jeff Payne, 3rd Grade, ELA and Social StudiesTeacher

Jeff (JP) Payne has been living and teaching elementary school in New Orleans since 2014, He taught in Oregon, Idaho, and South Korea before finding his way to New Orleans. JP strives to connect real-world interests and experiences to classroom content, with the goal of making learning personal and interesting. JP believes in giving students choice and voice in the classroom. JP is particularly interested in the Plessy’s Arts Integration model, an approach that he has already been implementing through programs such as The Kennedy Center's Turnaround Arts and New Orleans' KIDsmART. He looks forward to building relationships with students and their families throughout the year. 

 

Staci Simms, 3rd Grade, Math Teacher

Mrs. Staci Simms is a native of New Orleans. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Southern University and is currently working toward her master degree in Elementary Education. She has over 20 years experience teaching Kindergarten, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade.  However her passion lies in teaching math and science to struggling learners. When she is not working she loves cooking, reading and traveling with her husband and her son as well as her two frisk dogs Snowie and Snoball. She’s humbled and honored to be working at Homer Plessy Community School.

 

Lori Jones, 4th Grade, ELA and Social Studies Teacher

Lori Jones is a native New Orleanian.  She earned a B.A. in Mass Communications from Xavier University New Orleans, and a Post Baccalaureate in Early Childhood Education from Southern University New Orleans.  She has over 11 years experience teaching in Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades.  Lori is a passionate teacher who believes the best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book, and is thrilled to be a part of the Homer Plessy family.

 

Faith Steptore, 4th Grade, Math Teacher

Information coming soon.

 

Kelli Watson, 5th Grade, ELA and Social Studies Teacher

Kelli has served as a teacher and administrator nationally and abroad for fifteen years.  From Detroit to Prague, Chicago to South Bend, and Los Angeles to New Orleans, Kelli’s teaching and leadership experience from the pre-school to collegiate level continues to support her commitment to education.  Kelli earned her master’s degree in Mathematics Education from Marygrove College and her bachelor’s degree in Education and English from Michigan State University.  Following college, she moved abroad to teach at the British International School of Prague’s IB program and in 2007, returned to the US to teach and eventually lead the openings of grassroots charter schools across the country, until following her dreams to the soulful city of New Orleans.  

 

Sushma Vishnubhotla, 5th Grade, Math Teacher

Ms. Sushma Vishnubhotla was born in India but grew up in Potomac, Maryland.  After graduating high school, she attended the University of Maryland to pursue a degree in Accounting and Political Science. Then, she worked in business consulting for two years and felt depleted and unhappy. She realized business consulting didn't align with her desire to give back to the community so she started to volunteer her free time at For the Love of Children, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C aimed to increase literacy among minority students in the district. Through this venture she discovered her passion for working with and motivating children. Soon after, she quit her job and she moved to Brooklyn, NY to become a teacher through the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. While teaching she was also in school at St. John's University to pursue a master's degree in adolescent math education. She loves to work with young adults, and play a part in influencing their academic, social, and emotional growth as they progress through school. Her teaching philosophy is centered around building a positive space where students are challenged to critically think about the world around them through the lens of mathematics. She believes in the power of community, that we are stronger together than as individuals. She envisions her classroom to be a space where students celebrate each other's wins as their own, have a shared purpose, and learn to engage in productive struggle. She visited New Orleans in 2015 and fell in love with the city's vibrant culture spirit. She made a mental note to herself that she would move here at some point in the near future. Fast forward to summer 2018, she decided her time in NYC was running out and was determined to move to New Orleans, which brought her to Plessy. In her downtime, she loves to explore the city, listen to live music, do lots of yoga, travel, and spend time with her friends and family.  She’s a big fan of quotes, palo santos, and Maya Angelou. 

 

Andrew Krasvanage, 6th/7th Grade, ELA & Social Studies Teacher

Andrew Krasnavage moved to New Orleans in 2016 after two years teaching in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Originally from Connecticut, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Franklin & Marshall College. A lover of sports, Andrew played football and lacrosse through college. 

 

Josh Capdeville, 6th/7th Grade, Science Teacher

Mr. Josh Capdeville is a NOLA native (who dat!) and lifelong Mid Citizen.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Holy Cross University and is licensed to practice in Louisiana.  After gaining licensure, Mr. C joined teachNOLA's 2016 cohort where he obtained certification in middle and high school biology.  He strongly believes in the power of education and the positive impact it can have on an individual.  Mr. C is excited to be a part of the Plessy family and is looking forward to facilitating an arts integrated, project based science curriculum. 

 

Nikita Johnson, 6th/7th Grade, Math Teacher

Nikita Zeno-Johnson is a fifth year teacher. She's a native New Orleanian and graduated from University of Memphis. She's a mother of four amazing kids! Nikita is super excited to join the Plessy family and looking forward to an wonderful year!

 

Sharon Green, Instructional Assistant

Information coming soon. 

 

Niamiah Sylvester, Physical Education Coach

Information coming soon.

 

Caroline Coakley, Special Education Teacher Coordinator

Caroline Coakley moved to New Orleans from Massachusetts after graduating from University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A in history to pursue teaching through TeachNOLA. She has been teaching special education for the past 3 years and has worked with grades 3-5 in resource, inclusion and self-contained settings. Outside of teaching Caroline loves to cook, listen to music and take long walks with her dog Lola.

 

Andrea Arellano, Special Education Teacher

Andrea Arellano moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2018 from her hometown of Chicago, IL. Andrea obtained her B.A. from Iowa State University in Elementary Education and Special Education. In addition, she earned a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction with an ESL Endorsement through the American College of Education. Prior to moving to New Orleans, Andrea worked at an elementary school in the Chicago Public Schools as a Special Education teacher in resource and inclusion settings for six years. She then taught at a therapeutic school in Chicago, Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, as a Special Education teacher in a self-contained setting for three years. Andrea has always valued the combination of educating diverse learners while meeting their specific social and emotional needs. Aside from teaching, Andrea loves practicing and teaching yoga, traveling, and spending time outdoors with her Italian Greyhound. 

 

Amy Hutchinson, Interventionist/ SPED Teacher

Amy Hutchinson grew up in Atlanta, GA and moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2016. She graduated from Georgia State University with concentrations in Early Childhood and Special Education. Before moving to New Orleans, she taught Special Education while co-teaching in Montessori classrooms for three years. Amy has also worked as an ABA therapist for children with Autism in the school and clinic settings. She is passionate about supporting students with special needs and helping them reach their full potential. She also worked as a Crisis Counselor through a service called Crisis Text Line, where users text anonymously about a personal situation they are experiencing and seek help overcoming. In her free time, Amy loves exploring New Orleans on her bike, doing yoga, taking her Greyhound on long walks, traveling, and seeing live music. 

 

Shannon Davey, Interventionist

Information coming soon. 

 

Lilly Darche, Reading Specialist and Gifted Teacher

Information coming soon...

 

Erica Burjek, ESL Teacher 

Erica Burjek moved to New Orleans from Chicago to go to Tulane University, where she studied Spanish and International Development and later went on to get her teaching certification in elementary education.  This is her 4th year teaching in New Orleans but her 1st year at Plessy, and she loves how creative and insightful the our students are.  Outside of school you can find her teaching yoga or tap dancing in Mardi Gras parades!  

 

Arts Department

 

Kate Withrow, Strings Teacher

Kate Withrow began playing violin in Austin, Texas at the age of five. She continued her studies at the University of Houston and at Indiana University. After playing with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for a year, Ms. Withrow joined the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007. In addition to teaching at Homer Plessy, she maintains a small private teaching studio and regularly performs as a member of Polymnia Quartet and the New Resonance Ensemble.

 

Frederick George, Music Teacher

Information coming soon.

 

Goni Sondak, Art Teacher

Information coming soon.

 

Nati Hardin, Theatre Teacher

Born in Jackonsville, NC and raised in Alexandria, LA, Nati Hardin has been a performer since childhood who got their start by singing in church and acting in plays at the local community theater. After earning a B.F.A. in Drama with honors from the Tisch School of Arts at New York University (where they studied musical theater at Cap21), Nati lived in NYC and auditioned while teaching theater for afterschool programs and summer camps. In 2014, Nati earned a M.A. in Applied Theater from the School of Professional Studies at City University New York. Applied Theatre is the practice of theatre and drama in non-traditional settings and/or with marginalized communities. It encompasses theatre practices that tackle areas of social and cultural policy such as public health, education, housing, social welfare, and juvenile and criminal justice. CUNY awarded Nati the Star Innovation Award to fund their non-profit theater company U&I Interactive Theater, formerly known as Unabashed Idealists. U&I Interactive Theater uses applied theater techniques to empower participants to explore and develop strategies for handling challenges that arise in social settings, such as bullying. Nati has led workshops and residencies at elementary school across the Northeast, a maximum security prison in Connecticut, and the Shadow’s Antibullying Conference at Kean University. Nati moved back to Louisiana three years ago to be closer to family and practice applied theater. While Nati has taught for a total of nine years, they have been a full time teacher for three years. Nati most recently founded a theater program at Louisiana Key Academy, a free public charter for dyslexic students, in Baton Rouge, LA. Nati is excited to join the staff at Plessy and create theater with the students that not only validates and uses the students’ knowledge and experience, but empowers the students to achieve their dreams. Nati is an Ordained Minister through the Universal Life Church Monastery.

 
 

Board Of Directors

Board Meetings: The Citizens’ Committee for Education is the governing board of the Homer A Plessy Community School. It meets on the first Monday of every even month, and meetings are held in the school's library at 721 St. Philip Street, New Orleans, LA 70116. Board meetings are open to the public. 

Review the FY 2018-19 Proposed Budget here.

For upcoming meetings and to review prior documents, access the Board Portal.

Contact the board directly by emailing Alicia Bendana, Board President, alicia.bendana@plessyschool.org.

 

 

2018-2019 Homer A. Plessy Community School Board of Directors

Alicia Bendana, Of Counsel, Lowe, Stein, Hoffman, Allweiss & Hauver, LLP, President

Chris O'Neil, University Medical Center New Orleans, Vice President

Erin Tooher, PhD Candidate/Researcher at University of New Mexico,  Secretary

Alex Turvy, Business Operations Manager, KIPP Leadership Primary, Treasurer

Karel Sloane-Boekbinder-Parent, Sarah DeBacher, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Klassi Duncan, Director, Women's Business Resource Center- Urban League, Juan Linares, Pareto Securities, Dawn McKendall-Hunter, Young Audiences, Chandler Nutik- Executive Director, Community Works of Louisiana, and Tiffany Smith- Associate Attorney, Leake & Andersson, LLP