Mission, Vision & History
Board of Directors
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Samuel J. Green Charter School
Arthur Ashe Charter School
Langston Hughes Academy
Phillis Wheatley Community School
Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School
Resources & Policies
Pupil Progression Plan (PPP)
Language Assistance Services & Resources
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Who We Want
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EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Jay Altman: Chief Executive Officer
Since 1990, Jay has partnered with like-minded parents and educators to provide quality educational opportunities for students in New Orleans open-admission public schools. He taught in the city for several years before co-founding New Orleans Charter Middle School. He was also a founder of James Lewis Extension School, New Orleans Outreach, New Orleans Summerbridge, and Leading Educators. As director of education for London-based ARK schools from 2005 to 2008, Jay helped develop a British network of academies, charter-like schools in complex urban environments. He also was instrumental in establishing two training programs there –
for aspiring principals of open-admission schools, and
for mid-level school leadership.
Joseph Neary: Chief Operating Officer
Joe moved to Louisiana in 2008 from New York. Prior to working at FirstLine, Joe spent six years as a Bursar at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and seven years in charter business operations for Edison Schools. With over 30 years of professional experience and 14 years working with charter schools, Joe brings his expertise in finance, budgets, legal, contract performance, school operations, federal and state statues and regulation compliance, human resources and grants management to FirstLine Schools.
Sabrina Pence: Chief Academic Officer
Sabrina Pence graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and subsequently joined Teach For America, teaching in Pointe Coupee Parish for four years. During that time, she received her Master’s Degree from Louisiana State University in Educational Administration in 2005. She served as a teacher leader, leading parish-wide professional development and teaching a K-3 alternative teacher certification course through the New Teacher Project. In 2006, she moved overseas to Qatar and worked in educational reform as a science consultant for K-6 schools, training Qatari teachers to implement standards-based science instruction. In 2008, she returned to the U.S. to join New Leaders for New Schools, because of a belief that all students have the right to attend an excellent school. After completing her New Leaders residency at Arthur Ashe, Pence served as Principal of Albert Wicker Literacy Academy, where the school saw unprecedented gains, then returning to Ashe as Vice Principal, because she knew it was home. Sabrina served as the School Co-Director at Arthur Ashe Charter School from 2012-2014 and became FirstLine's Chief Academic Officer in July 2014.
Claudia Barker: Chief Development Officer, FirstLine Schools & Executive Director, Edible Schoolyard New Orleans
A native New Orleanian, Claudia has enjoyed serving the non-profit community for the past 30 years both as an executive and as an independent consultant specializing in programs that benefit youth. From 2004 to 2011 Claudia served as the Executive Director of New Orleans Outreach, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education in New Orleans by bringing community resources and volunteers into the schools. Before this she served as Director of Young Aspirations/Young Artists (YA/YA), Inc., an arts and social service organization that trains urban youth to become professional artists. As Executive Director of Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, Claudia manages FirstLine Schools' nationally known seed-to-table garden and food education programs. As Chief Development Officer for FirstLine Schools, Claudia manages the fundraising, communication and community partnerships strategy for FirstLine.
Gizelle Banks: Chief Financial Officer
Gizelle Banks joined the FirstLine team in 2017 after serving as Vice President of Finance and Operations at the Urban League of Louisiana for the last nine years. She has also served as Dillard University Controller, Delgado Community College Dean of Administration and Controller, and the Louisiana Technical College’s Director of Accounting. Gizelle brings over 16 years of financial management and reporting, budgeting, general accounting, grants management and financial systems implementation experience to Firstline Schools and holds an MBA with a concentration in Finance.
KEY NETWORK LEADERS
Linda Brown: Director of Family Support Services
Linda matriculated through the Orleans parish public school system. She is a Certified Special Educator and a Licensed Master Social Worker with over 30 years of experience. Linda has served Students With Disabilities since 1996 with the belief that all children can and must be educated. She has worked as a Classroom Teacher, Coordinator, Supervisor, as Director of Special Education for The Street Academy Charter School and various other positions in her area of expertise. As Director of Family Support Services at FirstLine Schools, it is Linda's task to support our parents and families and to achieve positive outcomes for our students through collaboration with School Leaders and Network Teams.
Rebekah Cain: Director of Operations
Rebekah came to FirstLine Schools in 2011 from the local chapter of the American Red Cross, where she was the Manager of Marketing and Communication. Prior to her time with the Red Cross, Rebekah had ten years experience in relationship management: first at the Smithsonian Institution and later at a wholesale tourism company. Rebekah spent over three years as FirstLine's Director of Development and Communication and became the Director of Operations in 2014. Rebekah is responsible for student transportation, food service, custodial services, facilities maintenance and IT services for FirstLine. She volunteered in a leadership capacity for two dog rescue organizations in Washington, DC, Boston and New Orleans over a nine-year period. Rebekah has a Master’s Degree from The George Washington University.
Diana Noble: Director of Talent
Diana first came to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, where she studied Business & Sociology. After college, she j
oined NYC Teaching Fellows and taught 7th grade math in East Harlem, NY. In 2010, she completed her Master of Science in Teaching at Pace University and moved back to New Orleans, where she joined The Save the Children Federation as the Literacy, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Program Specialist for Louisiana and Mississippi. Before coming to FirstLine, she also served as the Louisiana Department of Education's Director of Nonpublic Choice, promoting school choice options for youth throughout the state.
Sivi Domango: Director of Summer & Extra-Curricular Programming
Ms. Domango began her teaching career at Lusher Extension School in language arts, then joined the staff of James Lewis Extension School in history. Sivi was the Program Director for New Orleans Outreach for four years before coming to New Orleans Charter Middle School as the School Culture and Behavior Specialist. After Katrina, she worked for a year as Program Director in the Children’s Charter School in Baton Rouge. Ms. Domango returned to New Orleans to help take over and rebuild Samuel Green Charter School in 2006 as Director of Student and Family Support Services and Community Partnerships. She became Dean of Students and then Vice Principal at Green, as well as Director of Culture and Behavior for FirstLine Schools in 2008. She is a member of the 2008 class of Leading Educators, and a graduate of Joseph S. Clark High School, Class of '88, which is now a proud FirstLine School!
Alisha Johnson Perry: Director of Development
Alisha Johnson Perry holds a J.D. in Civil Law from Loyola University of New Orleans, and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Spanish from Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia. She officially entered the fundraising profession in 2007 as development director of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, in Jackson, MS, after 10 years as a personal and legislative assistant to former Louisiana State Senator Paulette Irons, in New Orleans. Since 2011, she has used her abilities of consensus-building, organizing volunteers and raising both funds and friends, to help grow FirstLine Schools’ Edible Schoolyard New Orleans program, through grant writing, donor cultivation, and co-management of its premiere annual fundraiser, “An Edible Evening.” These talents have served Alisha and her community well as recent past president of the Edgewood Park Neighborhood Association in Gentilly. Alisha hails from a family of New Orleans public school graduates, which fuels her passion for educational equity, solid community partnerships, and joyful academic experiences for children. When not developing her professional skills, Alisha is building her Scrabble vocabulary and studying children’s book writing.