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Nelson Charter gets new principal who has plans to turn around the struggling school

Struggling Medard Nelson Charter School is on the mend, said newly hired Principal Chauncey Nash.

Nash fills the vacancy that opened mid-October at the charter school overseen by the New Beginnings network.

Nelson also has seen sharp staff turnover as seven of its 20 teachers resigned within the first three months of the school year, leaving parents very concerned. Former principal Deidra Bradley’s last day was Oct. 17, though parents weren’t formally notified until a letter went home with students Oct. 24. Many parents said they were upset because their students informed them of Bradley’s departure before the letter arrived.

In that Oct. 24 letter, New Beginnings CEO Sametta Brown vowed to hire a principal within two weeks. In a letter dated Nov. 5, Brown announced to parents that she had hired Nash to run the 480-student elementary school.

Brown also introduced Nash at the board’s meeting on Monday. Nash previously worked for Crescent Leadership Academy, an alternative school in Orleans Parish.

Nash said he was instituting a three-year plan to turn around Nelson. The charter school’s performance score slipped from a C to a D last year, and Brown began a reorganization of the school earlier this fall.

Nash said he, with the support of network staff, has hires lined up to fill all vacant positions at the school. Nash is set to meet with Nelson parents Wednesday afternoon in Nelson’s cafeteria.

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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

    Chauncey seems like a nice guy (but there are a lot of nice guys out there – licensed, experienced, credentialed administrators who passed PRAXIS). But, considering the performance of the RSD Crescent Leadership Academy, Sametta’s decision to hire Nash is based on WHAT!?
    No – don’t tell me! Let me guess. Chauncey is enrolled in some ED ADMIN or Masters Degree program at UNO. You know, as in HIRE THEM AND WE (UNO) WILL GET THEM CERTIFIED. How much is this CMO (UNO NBSF) paying to Riedlinger’s Leadership Center? How much is this CMO paying to Riedlinger’s other tentacle – the Sun Center (My eyes! My eyes! The Sun – It is so bright) for Special Education personnel. My stomach hurts, and this is NOT the public library system. Okay – moving on! What about the split vote at the last board meeting (local control or remain with the RSD)? How is Ramsey (and Sametta) going to make the other 3 on the split vote understand that you just don’t so that kind of thing in public – even if THE LENS is not there?!! 4gawdsake – there were Capdau teachers there – maybe even parents – and you sure as hell had Padian there on one of her rare public appearances.

  • James

    A little research by a concerned parent makes one wonder how desperate Nelson must be to hire this guy. My best wishes to the parents of the children at Nelson!

    Chauncey Nash was fired from Crescent Leadership Academy partly because CLA had the lowest scores in all of NOLA last year.

    Check out this article about Nash allegedly pulling a knife on a student.

    This is just embarrassing:

    Not all schools accept a principal who pulls knives (even allegedly) on a student:

  • nickelndime

    Well James, you certainly landed the left hook that should have knocked out the UNO New Beginnings Board. This is dirty politics as usual, New Orleans style. Board member Danzey should be charged with “something” for what she did at the last board meeting on November 10 – no, I won’t vote unless it is to break a tie. Oh, the vote is 3-2 in favor of putting Lake Area High under local OPSB control – then, I will vote – to create a tie! Danzey used to be an Orleans Parish principal – the larceny is part of her character. Who rounded her up – dug her up – Riedlinger?

  • Lee Barrios

    Thanks James. Hard for me to keep up w the New Orleans crap not being an insider. Keep it up. Does Lens still publish the charter meetings? If not, how does one keep up now without attending?

  • nickelndime

    Hey Lee! It’s hard to keep up with the New Orleans crap because there is so much of it. Funding was cut for THE LENS charter school reporting corp. It should be missed, but I think the CMOs and other charter boards are quite happy with the funding cuts. It reminds me of the ONE drug dog that was used to sniff out drugs in a large urban school district. The dog was exceptional – no doubt about it – but the dog was spread too thin. Do you get my drift?

  • R.Rubes

    What kind of educator even brings a knife to school and pulls it out in front of students? Children in New Orleans need to feel their school offers an environment of safety and stability. No student or teachers should be scared of their administration. WTF is NBSF’s hiring criteria?

  • nickelndime

    It seems that the University of New Orleans is now separate and apart from the NEW BEGINNINGS (NBSF) nonprofit. When did that happen (if I have time, I’ll look at the SEC. OF STATE website), but the motives would be clearly financial, so that UNO and the CMO (charter operator) don’t get caught with their hands in the same public cookie jar. WWBD? What would Brian do? That’s number 1. Sametta has made a helluva lot of money by being Brian Riedlinger’s lap dog, and she sure as hell is not going to do anything to upset him. The NBSF Board – now what are WE going to do about that? Three of them actually voted to return Lake Area High to local control, until Danzey stepped in and created a tie. How would Sheila have explained that twist to Ramsey and the absent board members? She might as well have picked up Chauncey’s knife and slit her own throat! Hahaha!