As senior dean of Relay and founding dean of Relay Louisiana, Jennifer Francis oversees all aspects of teacher training in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and supports Relay deans in Memphis and Nashville. A Chicago native and alumna of Chicago Public Schools, Francis served as the principal of West Gary Lighthouse College Prep Academy in Gary, Indiana, before launching the Relay New Orleans campus in 2013. Francis earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction and an Ed.S. from National Louis University, as well as a dual B.A. in Black Studies and American Studies from Scripps College. Francis is currently a doctoral student at the Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.
Nestled at the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Crescent City is a melting pot of cultures, and home to the unrivaled Mardi Gras festival. Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been the site of an urban renaissance that includes major innovations to its school system, and a renewed emphasis on tourism.
Campus Overview and Statistics
Average teacher starting salary: $55,222
Resident starting salary: $25,000 - $36,000
+ Certification Requirements
Praxis I exam(s)
Praxis II exam(s)
Practitioner License Application Fee $50
Practitioner License completed application
Passing of PLT grade level exam(s)
Level 1 Teaching Certification Application Fee $50
Level 1 Teaching Certificate Application
KIPP New Orleans
Crescent City Schools
New Orleans College Prep
Social & Educational Landscape
Around the time of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans set out on a system-wide overhaul of its public schools, implementing bold innovations to revitalize a struggling school system. These revitalization efforts have been met with both praise and criticism, but it is safe to say that New Orleans has become a place where experimentation is encouraged in order to find the best ways to achieve educational equity.
Meanwhile, the city has seen positive signs of rebuilding its economy, once again becoming a popular tourist destination. With the help of a steady flow of federal and philanthropic funds, New Orleans is now one of America’s fastest growing cities, and boasts a labor force almost equal to that before the storm.
New Orleans is still in the midst of rebuilding, but the community has remained resilient despite the hardships it has faced. WIth the economy of New Orleans growing every year and a school system piloting new approaches, it is an exciting time to be in the city.
+ City Fun
Join in on one of the biggest parties in the United States — Mardi Gras! The annual carnival lights up New Orleans with jazz music, delicious food, and great community before the start of the Christian observance of Lent (usually in February).
Take a free tour at New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park to learn about a central part of New Orleans culture. There are walking tours, films, lectures, and live performances. The annual New Orleans JazzFest is also a hit with residents and tourists alike!
New Orleans is known for having incredible food. Enjoy a beignet (a French donut) at Cafe du Monde — people come from far and wide for these!
The streets of the historic French Quarter are lined with beautiful architecture, dining, and entertainment venues. Listen to jazz music and get a taste of French Creole and Cajun culture any time of year.
+ Getting Around
The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is a network of buses and streetcars with almost 40 routes through neighborhoods in New Orleans. Depending on school and living location, having a car in New Orleans may be necessary, though the downtown district is dense and public transportation and cycling provide a good alternative option.
Katrina swept away New Orleans’ school system, ushering in new era, Washington Post
How New Orleans Proved Urban-Education Reform Can Work, New York Magazine