Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Randolph Bates

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Steeby

Third Advisor

Daniel Doll

Fourth Advisor

Patricia Austin


Education reform is shifting the landscape of New Orleans public schools, where alternative certification programs are thriving and changing the demographics of core teachers. This study follows a Teach for America (TFA) Corps Member from 2007 (just after the historic flooding from Hurricane Katrina) who brought a promise of innovation through idealism and green wisdom. The teacher’s preparation and motivations are shown to be problematic. Examining the assumptions and privileges that underlie the import of inexperienced talent to urban education systems, this study considers the ways that community voices have been lost or undervalued in New Orleans schools. The thesis tracks five unique student experiences in two schools over nine years, with accounts of the daily life of students and educators, some of whom are effective and make marked contributions to the community. The study concludes that care should be taken as reform continues to make schools better for kids.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.