Seven of 20 teachers have resigned from Nelson Charter since school year began

It’s been less than three months since school started and more than a third of Medard H. Nelson Charter School’s teachers have quit.

Seven of the 20 teachers at the New Beginnings network school have resigned, in addition to the principal departing.

Though parents didn’t know that number when they gathered Thursday night, they knew teachers were leaving — and often heard it first from their children. About 500 children attend the school.

New Beginnings CEO Sametta Brown confirmed the number of resignations Friday after The Lens asked Thursday night. Of the seven teacher who resigned, four left before the principal, and three after, Brown said.

Zoneke Domino-Thomas is the mother of two Nelson students and the president of the school’s parent-teacher organization. She invited Brown to a meeting Thursday to answer questions for frustrated parents after the school’s principal departed without notice earlier this month.

Principal Deidra Bradley was dismissed on Oct. 17. Parents weren’t notified until one week later — in a letter dated Oct. 24, the same day The Lens inquired about Bradley’s employment.

More than 30 parents and teachers gather in Nelson’s charged cafeteria Thursday night. For more than 90 minutes Brown listened to parents concerns and answered some questions.

“I think we’re all upset because our children knew before we knew,” Domino-Thomas said.

Brown told parents Bradley’s departure was part of a necessary reorganization and did not disclose any details.

She didn’t have many direct questions to answer as parents poured out concerns and frustrations. Worries ranged from the security of the building to the academic rigor offered by substitute teachers to the cancellation of activities.

“We’re bringing teachers from our other schools,” Brown told parents, addressing the teacher resignations.

Nelson is one of four charter schools overseen by the New Beginnings network. On Friday, Brown told The Lens two teachers from each of the network’s other three schools were now stationed at Nelson, though it is unclear what roles they are in.

On Thursday night, Brown told parents that teachers who left had disrespected children and families by not giving two weeks notice.

Domino-Thomas said she didn’t feel much better after the meeting and was frustrated by Brown’s “vague answers.”

“We are still at a loss because we need an action plan.”


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About Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned to New Orleans in the fall of 2014 after covering education for the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in journalism and social welfare and a concentration in educational policy studies.

  • nickelndime

    The Nelson teachers may be departing, but Ramsey Green and the UNO NEW BEGINNINGS BOARD has “locked” overpaid CEO Sametta Brown into leadership for three – yes, that’s right, I said 3! years. And this inept unknowledgeable board will give Sametta further financial incentive pay, (on top of her regular 6-figure salary) if she actually does her job. Well, ain’t that a kick in the head!! A bad joke played on parents, students, teachers, and the community.

  • nickelndime

    7 of 20 Nelson teachers have departed and its only October 31 (Friday). If my Common Core mathematics serves me correctly, that is 35 % of the “teaching” (classroom) faculty. Now, how many non-classroom, non-teaching personnel are employed at Nelson to help Sametta do her 6-figure CEO administrative “job” while she flits around four schools – and probably meets her old comrades over at Brian Riedljnger’s Leadership Center at UNO? So, what is the RSD’s solution? I know – select another CMO to takeover the school or schools. Thank you village idiot legislators/lawmakers.

  • R.Rubes

    working for New Beginnings was the worst experience of my life. Teachers are smart to resign. Last year at a meeting Desmond Moore threatened to fire the entire Capdau staff (great way to raise morale). If we weren’t the only ones who gave two shits about the students we would have left. At least 3 teachers left Capdau before Thanksgiving last year, not to mention one first grade teacher was never replaced, and the second grade teacher was replaced with one student-teacher and one older woman who I guess was sleeping with the admin cause she had no certification to be teaching. And of course- the parents were never told about any of this

  • R.Rubes

    Also as the first Jew most of the New Beginnings admin had ever met, it would have been nice to know my superiors were trained by Baptist ministries (no wonder I was urged to cut the Holocaust out of my curriculum). Another anecdote- D. Moore brought in his bishop to bless the school during professional development.. loving the separation of church and state

  • Truth Or Dare

    Does anyone knows the total amount from last year? How about 15 teachers with only two being fired

  • Cool

    Nor did anyone get told about Desmond moore’s abusive cursing of the staff. All the glory he’s having heaped on him now is suspect just like the scores. Someone needs to really look into him and how much time he’s really working now. Where’s the “almighty” leader when Nelson needs help, pointing fingers and casting blame just like Jaquanna Stewart. I hope someone at the lens talks to you to uncover the REAL DESMOND MOORE, not the one he likes to pretend to be. We didn’t all drink his kool-aid.

  • nickelndime

    U got my attention, “Cool” and “Truth Or Dare.” Now, let’s hope a hard working reporter (say, from THE LENS) uncovers what is going on in these UNO NEW BEGINNINGS schools. Which leads me to believe that this is a repeat of what really got the OPSB into trouble in the first place – SEX, MONEY, and MO’ SEX N MO’ MONEY!

  • R.Rubes

    I always wondered what Stewart’s role was… Sametta Brown’s lap dog?

  • nickelndime

    Charter school lap dogs are expensive too.