School Board members sworn in

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Orleans Parish School Board was inaugurated at Edward Hynes Charter School on Monday. From left are Nolan Marshall, Woody Koppel, Seth Bloom, Stanley Smith, interim superintendent (not a board member) Leslie Ellison, Sarah Usdin, Cynthia Cade and Ira Thomas.
Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- The Orleans Parish School Board was inaugurated at Edward Hynes Charter School on Monday. From left are Nolan Marshall, Woody Koppel, Seth Bloom, Stanley Smith, interim superintendent (not a board member) Leslie Ellison, Sarah Usdin, Cynthia Cade and Ira Thomas.

The seven members of the Orleans Parish School Board were sworn in at an inauguration Monday in front of about 300 people in the gymnasium of Edward Hynes Charter School in Lakeview.

Three were newcomers to the board, including Sarah Usdin in District 3, Leslie Ellison of District 4 and Nolan Marshall Jr. in District 7.

The ceremony also included a tribute to the nation’s armed forces, with plaques of recognition presented by board members to representatives from the different branches.

After the ceremony, the board held its first meeting of the year during which they unanimously selected Ira Thomas of District 1 as board president, and Ellison as vice president. A resolution was adopted allowing the board president to sign contracts and official documents on the board’s behalf and allowing the vice president to sign in the president’s absence.

The board also unanimously voted to retain its attorney, Brent Barriere, who is changing firms. The approved resolution will allow Barriere to “continue as lead counsel in said lawsuits and other complex litigation after his transition,” according to the agenda.

The last action item dealt with the approval of an amendment of the Einstein Charter School’s operating agreement, which will allow it to take over the Intercultural School’s students in eastern New Orleans for the 2013-2014 school year.

The contract held by the Intercultural School’s charter board was not renewed by the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education in December.

Gerard Stevens, WBOK radio personality and host of the ceremony, wished the board luck, saying that he expects big things and deems them up to the task.

One of the biggest decisions for the new board will come in the spring, when it will decide on a replacement for interim superintendent Stan Smith.

The board oversees about 20 charter and direct-run schools. None of the eligible schools taken over by the Recovery School District have returned to the Orleans Parish School Board.