BESE seat up for grabs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011



LAPLACE – A Reserve resident and a New Orleans resident are among four candidates fighting for the District 2 seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in the Oct. 22 primary election.

Rev. Ferdinand Wallace Jr. and Kira Orange Jones will compete for the right to represent portions of St. John, St. James, St. Charles, Orleans and Jefferson parishes on the statewide board.

Wallace, a pastor at the King David Baptist Church in Lutcher, said he intends to work to raise the standard of expectations of all grade levels by holding the governor, state superintendent and administration, faculty, staff and parents accountable for the outcome of the students of the state.

He added that he wants to work to establish collaboration among parents, businesses, political leaders (local, state, and federal), the media, religious leaders and all other citizens to identify and build awareness and support for public schools.

“Education is the most important issue in the state of Louisiana,” Wallace said. “If our education succeeds, then our state succeeds, and if our education fails, then our state fails.”

Jones, the executive director of Teach for America – Greater New Orleans, said her work as part of Teach for America included supervision of more than 1,000 teachers and management of a more than $10 million budget that was infused into the public school system in the New Orleans area. She has grown the organization from 70 to 500 teachers and boosted the school number from 30 to 120.

“Growing up, I was fortunate to have some outstanding teachers that inspired me to persist in school and to learn,” Jones said. “As a teacher, I also saw firsthand what my own fourth-graders were capable of when held to high expectations. I am now focused on helping every child in Louisiana have the opportunity for an excellent education. They deserve nothing less.”

Wallace was raised in Reserve and is a graduate of Southern University and the Christian Bible College of Louisiana, where he earned a Bachelor of Theology, a Master of Theology and a Doctorate of Theology.

Jones received her undergraduate degree in political theory and film from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, with a focus in leadership. She taught fourth-graders in Baton Rouge and formed her own film production company, Right Quick Productions, before becoming executive director of Teach for America – Greater New Orleans.