Charter foundation names Florida woman as first principal

The Lafayette Charter Foundation recently named LaTonia Harris as founding principal of its Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy.

The school is one of two kindergarten through sixth grade schools managed by charter school management company Charter Schools USA that will open in August. The schools are overseen by the Lafayette Charter Foundation that serves as the schools’ local school board.

Harris most recently worked in the Miami-Dade County Public School System in Florida, where she gained experience as a teacher and principal. Under her leadership, student reading scores increased by 29 percentage points and mathematics scores increased by 50 percentage points, said Charter Schools USA officials in a news release.

“Ms. Harris’ diverse background and proven leadership skills are the perfect match for our school,” said Mary Louella Riggs Cook, president of the Lafayette Charter Foundation in a news release. “Her passion for education and firm belief that every child can learn will serve the students and community well.”

Harris holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida State University and a Master of Education and Doctorate of Education in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.

Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy is under construction in Couret Farms, a new residential development off Pont des Mouton Road. Its sister school, Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy, is being built near the residential community of Sugar Mill Pond in Youngsville.

Last month, Christina Stoudt was named founding principal of Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy. Stoudt was the founding principal of Baton Rouge Charter Academy at Mid City, school run by Charter Schools USA that opened in August.