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NOLA Public Schools Announces New Roles for the District & The Leah Chase School

Meet the new NOLA-PS CAO & Director of Fine Arts, as well as the Principal of The Leah Chase School

(New Orleans – April 12, 2024) — As the eagerly anticipated opening of The Leah Chase School draws near, NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) proudly announces the addition of three distinguished professionals to its team. These appointments mark a significant milestone as the district prepares to launch its first permanent direct-run public school in nearly two decades. Among the newly appointed roles are Chief Academic Officer and Director of Fine Arts of NOLA Public Schools, as well as Elementary School Principal of The Leah Chase School.

"NOLA Public Schools is delighted to welcome three exceptional educators to our team. Hailing from New Orleans and proud products of our public school system, these individuals bring a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to education," said Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams. "Their outstanding track records within the educational community speak volumes, instilling confidence in our ability to provide exceptional learning experiences for our scholars. As we prepare to expand direct-run schools and inaugurate The Leah Chase School in August, we invite everyone to join us in warmly welcoming our newest team members."

Chief Academic Officer – Shelita Mundy Jones

Shelita Mundy Jones will serve as Chief Academic Officer responsible for setting the strategic vision and direction for the instructional framework and pedagogical approach for the district's educational and instructional programs. She's a dynamic leader with more than two decades of experience serving PK-12 students of New Orleans and surrounding parishes in traditional and public charter school settings.

"As a dedicated educator, I am deeply honored to serve as Chief Academic Officer for the district. I am committed to driving positive change and ensuring every scholar receives an exceptional education that empowers them to succeed," said Jones.

With more than 20 years of experience, she's recognized for her transformative leadership and improving student outcomes. Jones has a track record of success in roles such as Director of Performance and Compliance, where she contributed to an eight-point school performance gain and LDOE letter grade increase, resulting in a rise to the number one position of all open-enrollment high schools in New Orleans (2023). She was responsible for supervising curriculum and instruction for LEAP courses, state and benchmark assessment, academic progress monitoring, strategic planning for overall LDOE school performance scoring, teacher professional learning design, special programs and compliance, school policy, human resources, Title IX coordination, and monitoring the implementation of out-sourced signature STEM programs and partnerships.

Jones has held various positions in education, including principal and curriculum specialist. Jones holds degrees in education leadership and counseling and is a graduate of the Louisiana Superintendent's Academy.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, sports, and spending time with her children.

Crystal LaFrance – Elementary School Principal, The Leah Chase School

As the principal of The Leah Chase School, Crystal LaFrance will shape the new school's vision, fostering a vibrant school culture, and establishing rigorous educational standards. With a keen focus on academic excellence and cultural responsiveness, she will lead efforts to ensure that every scholar receives a high-quality education tailored to their diverse needs and backgrounds.

"Building on the legacy of equity in education that Leah Chase and her family have historically sought to cultivate within our city is a responsibility I embrace wholeheartedly," said LaFrance. "I am committed to upholding this legacy and fostering an environment where every scholar can thrive and succeed. It is with immense pride and gratitude that I take on this role."

LaFrance is a dedicated educator and leader with more than 17 years of experience. Starting her career in elementary education, she transitioned into instructional leadership in 2015, serving as Assistant Principal at Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary Charter School. LaFrance holds degrees in Sociology and educational leadership. She believes in data-driven decision-making and has implemented successful academic systems, leading to significant improvements in school performance. Under her guidance, Bethune Elementary saw a remarkable increase in its School Performance Score by 9.3 points over the past two school years, earning an impressive Progress Index Score of 98.1, and the esteemed recognition as a "Top Gains" Honoree for the 2022-23 school year.

Outside of work, she values her role as a wife and mother and enjoys traveling, reading, and movies.

Asia Muhaimin - Director of Fine Arts, NOLA Public Schools

In her capacity as the Director of Fine Arts for NOLA-PS, Asia Muhaimin will assume leadership over the district's comprehensive fine arts program, encompassing instrumental, vocal, and general music, theater, visual arts, and dance. Her responsibilities will include optimizing the arts experience for all scholars, offering guidance and support to stakeholders, and meticulously planning, evaluating, and implementing program objectives established by the superintendent and her team.

Muhaimin previously led the award-winning Warren Easton Charter High School Fighting Eagles marching band and auxiliary units. With more than 22 years in education, she has held various roles, including director of bands, department chair of Fine Arts, World Language, and Health & Physical Education. A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Muhaimin is enthusiastic about her new role serving the scholars of the district.

"I am excited to embark on this new adventure as the Director of Fine Arts for NOLA Public Schools. It's a privilege to continue my journey in education, serving the scholars of our district and nurturing their creative potential."

Jones, LaFrance, and Muhaimin will commence their new positions by the end of this month. Their official introduction to the school board and the community will take place during the upcoming board meeting. We warmly invite community members to join us in welcoming them.

For those unable to attend in person, the board meeting will be livestreamed on our YouTube channel, providing an opportunity for everyone to see our newest team members.


About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board. NOLA Public Schools currently oversees 67 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams, the first woman in the District's 181 years to serve as its permanent superintendent.

For more information, visit For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools.

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