Crescent City Schools board hears about Akili’s response to death of first-grader

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Crescent City Schools’ board elected a new member to replace an outgoing one on Feb. 19, as it continues to support students shaken from the death of Akili first-grader Shaud Wilson.

Crescent City Schools Chief Executive Officer Kate Mehok began the meeting by discussing Wilson’s death. He was struck by a car as he crossed the street to his bus stop on Feb. 10.

Mehok said school officials were trying to keep school as normal as possible, and the charter organization was looking into how it could help his family. She serves as interim principal at Akili.

Shaud’s brothers were part of Akili’s first class in 2008, before it was part of Crescent City Schools, and teachers were personally connected to the family, Mehok said.

Counseling services are being provided for Shaud’s classmates. In his memory, they created a watercolor painting, which will be posted in the school’s hallway.

Board Secretary Agnieszka McPeak, a member of the board since its inception in 2010, announced that the meeting was her final one, as she prepares to move to Toledo, Ohio.

She said she hopes to continue her civic engagement there.

McPeak, an attorney, had never been involved in school administration or served on a school board. She said Mehok attracted her to the board, and she saw an opportunity to become involved and make a difference in New Orleans.

“I was spurred by the commitment to open enrollment and the high standards,” she said.

The board unanimously elected Frank M. Rabalais to replace her. Rabalais, a tax-credit consultant with Crescent Growth Capital LLC, has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Orleans and a master’s degree in preservation studies from Tulane University. Board member Julius Kimbrough invited Rabalais to join.

“I like that it speaks to one of the most significant issues of the city; that is education,” Rabalais said. “Charter schools give more people an opportunity to participate.”

Rabalais emphasized his role on the board would be to support Mehok, who he said impressed him.

Board members present were Bob Stefani, Agnieszka McPeak, Tiffany Robbins, Julius Kimbrough Jr., Doug Harrell and Tim Bryant. Absent were Jean Paul Hymel, Carolyn Chandler, Aimee Eubanks Davis, and Anna Washington-Burrell.

The meeting began at 6:10 p.m. when a quorum was reached, and it ended at approximately 6:45. Former New Orleans City Council member Peggy Wilson was the only member of the public present.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 26.

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