Teach for America Greater New Orleans Welcomes Executive Director
NEW ORLEANS — Teach For America Greater New Orleans welcomes Ge’ron Tatum as its new executive director. Tatum, a Louisiana native who led his school community through the demands of COVID-19 last year, succeeds Joy Okoro, who fully transitioned into her new role as regional field executive at Teach For America in July.
“With his dedication to excellence in public education and his proven record of student success, Ge’ron has a clear vision for developing teachers who will empower their students to become the leaders they are destined to be,” said Okoro. “His hands-on experience leading through the COVID-19 pandemic and his deep understanding of the innovative leadership required to address our country’s systemic inequities makes Ge’ron the right leader at the right time for Teach For America in Greater New Orleans.”
Tatum has experienced the systemic inequities facing many of the students the organization serves. After attending public schools in New Iberia, La. and Kansas City, he decided to become a teacher to provide students like him with the kinds of opportunities and support they may need to pursue their dreams and aspirations. He earned degrees in education and psychology from Lincoln University in Missouri and has served public schools in Kansas City and New Orleans for the past 15 years, moving from teacher to school leader over the course of his career.
Most recently, he led New Orleans students and families as the middle school principal of Phillis Wheatley Community School. Through the challenges and inequities highlighted by the pandemic, he saw the urgent need for equity-minded, community-centered leadership at all levels of the education system and decided to expand his influence and impact. Inspired by Teach For America’s work in Louisiana’s education system over the past 30 years, Tatum is excited to begin his journey as executive director to support the 100 corps members and 1,100 alumni in Greater New Orleans.
“My optimism is fueled by the new corps members that will be teaching in our schools this year, many of whom have been hired in critical teaching roles. Thirty-nine percent are teaching STEM subjects and/or serving as special educators. Another twenty percent are serving in reading intervention roles, which are essential to promoting reading recovery when considering the impact of the pandemic,” said Tatum.
Tatum will also be guiding TFA GNO’s Alumni Coaching Fellowship in its second year. The fellowship works to recruit, train, and mentor TFA alumni teachers working in partner schools to coach and develop corps members. This in turn provides schools with additional support for new teachers and leadership opportunities for alumni teachers. With the ongoing demands of the pandemic requiring more from teachers and school staff, this program has been well-received by all school partners and teachers alike and has assisted in retaining all participating fellows for the new school year.