Contribute Now to October 2011: Kira Orange Jones

by DFER Reformer of the Month

DFER's mission is to encourage a more productive dialogue within the Democratic Party on the need to fundamentally reform American public education. Each month, we identify one candidate who is standing up for meaningful reform and innovation, and we help demonstrate the broad base of support for his or her efforts. Please give as generously as you can.

October 2011: Kira Orange Jones

Kira Orange Jones, the superstar executive director of Teach For America in New Orleans, is running for Louisiana’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). This is definitely an all-hands-on-deck moment.

Kira Orange JonesKira’s story is amazing. When Kira was a child, her mother pulled her out of a low-performing public school and worked two jobs to pay for parochial school. Kira had to remediate through high school and, with the help of deeply committed teachers, was eventually accepted to college.

After college, she joined Teach For America, beginning in the classroom in Baton Rouge and working her way up to VP of New Site Development.

In 2007, as she finished her masters at Harvard’s ed school, Teach For America asked her to run their Greater New Orleans region. In her three years as executive director, she has grown the organization from 70 to 500 teachers and quadrupled the number of schools – the region now reaches nearly half of all New Orleans students.

Still, sitting on the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education could be her highest impact role to date. Electing reformers to the board is absolutely critical to keep things pointing in the right direction.

For once, we’re not asking for your money. We’re asking you to look through your address book for friends in Louisiana and forward Kira’s story to them. These elections are notoriously low turnout. Ask them if they’ve already voted and, if they haven’t, guilt trip them.

Kira is running for BESE District 2, which covers most of New Orleans, the westbank of Jefferson Parish, and St. Charles, St. John, St. James, and Assumption Parishes. Please make sure your friends and colleagues have voted, and ask them to forward this along.

If you want more information about Kira or District 2, or you’d like to contribute to her campaign, visit her website: http://www.kiraorangejones.com.