Board Members


John Brown, Sr. – District 1 – View Map

John Alan Brown, Sr, is a lifelong and proud native of New Orleans. He is a graduate of Walter L. Cohen, Class of 1966. After high school, John left New Orleans to pursue his educational and athletic aspirations at Winston-Salem State University. While at Winston-Salem, he was a member of the football and track programs. John earned his Business Education Bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem in 1970, and a M. Ed. Special Education/School Administration from the University of New Orleans in 1977.

John’s passion for educating young inner city youth led him back to his hometown of New Orleans. His career in education started at Rabouin High School in 1970 before he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1971. After receiving an Honorable Discharge in 1973, he returned home to work as a Supervisor/Coach for the New Orleans Recreational Department (NORD). John spent countless hours at St. Roch Playground implementing recreational programs for area youth, many of which have developed to be not only productive and contributing citizens of our community but also prominent leaders. Later that year, he returned to a teaching position at Fortier High School, where he served as a Special Education Business Ed teacher and Administrative Assistant for 8 ½ years.

A retired OPSB educator of 30 years, John has remained committed to the needs and challenges of OPSB and the broader educational landscape. Prior to his retirement in 2003, John served as Principal of Alcee Fortier High School, Harriet Tubman Elementary School and Phillips Junior High School. John was selected as Principal of the Year for the 1991-1992 and 1999-2000 school years, respectively. Prior to that time, he served as Assistant Principal of Joseph S. Clark High School, and as Administrative Intern to his mentor, the late Dr. Norward Roussell.

In April 2006, John returned to New Orleans after eight months in Chicago, Illinois following Hurricane Katrina. His decision to return home was purely out of a strong desire to see New Orleans reach higher, envision greater and be better than ever before. Upon his return, John joined the School Leadership Center (SLC) of Greater New Orleans as its Fellows Director, the mission of which is to inspire and develop instructional leadership among principals and other educators, thereby advancing student achievement In the schools of those school leaders. Over the past 10 years, he has visited with and come to know more than 300 of the principals and assistant school leaders from Orleans and surrounding parishes who enrolled and completed the SLC Fellows Leadership Program.

John is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., a brotherhood and service organization for which he continues to actively serve as President (Polemarch) of the New Orleans Alumni Chapter. He also serves as Chairman of a mentoring program at Lake Area High, a collaboration between Urban League of Greater New Orleans and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., as well as the RPGA Chairman for an annual benefit golf tournament benefiting Children’s Hospital. John is also a member of St. Peter Claver Catholic Church.
John and his wife of over 43 years, Wynella, have three children, Jawan (Henry), Jade (Donnie) and John, Jr.; and three grandchildren, Honree, Jadon and Dorsett.

Cynthia Cade – Vice President, District 2 – View Map

Honorable Cynthia Cade is a proud life long resident of New Orleans. She attended the Orleans Parish Public Schools and is a graduate of Joseph S. Clark Sr. High School. Ms. Cade is also a member of various neighborhoods, civic and political organizations throughout the city and state of Louisiana.

Honorable Cynthia Cade is the incumbent School Board Member for District 2. While serving on the Board she has served on many committees, chaired over the Policy Committee for eight years, and held the office of Vice President for three terms. However, of all the many hats and roles Ms. Cade has she is most excited about being the mother of one adult child, and the grandmother of two handsome boys. She resides in her district Gentilly/New Orleans East. She is recently matriculating at the University of New Orleans Master’s Program in Education. Ms. Cade received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Cum Laude from Southern University. For more than twenty-eight years she has been an educator and the Director and Administrator of Angel’s Academy Preschool & Infant Care Center.

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Sarah Usdin – District 3 – View Map
Sarah Newell Usdin is the Founder and past-CEO of New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and developing the people, resources and environment necessary to achieve excellent public schools for every child in New Orleans.  NSNO directly launched/expanded charter schools, invested in recruitment/training for principals and teachers, and incubated quality support providers to serve schools citywide.  The positive changes in the New Orleans public school environment were validated by the award of a $33 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant  to NSNO and the RSD to turn around schools in New Orleans and Tennessee.Sarah’s entire professional career has been in public education.  In 1992, after teaching in Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship, she joined Teach for America and taught 5th grade for three years before becoming Teach for America’s Executive Director in Louisiana.  She went on to serve as a partner with The New Teacher Project (TNTP), working to recruit, train, and certify thousands of high-quality public school teachers.  Sarah is a member of the Pahara-Aspen Institute Global Leadership Network and was the recipient of The Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership.Usdin majored in religion and German at Colgate University and holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Louisiana State University. She represents District 3 on the Orleans Parish School Board.
Leslie Ellison – District 4 – View Map

Leslie Ellison—District 4Hon. Leslie Ellison represents the citizens of District 4 in New Orleans on the Orleans Parish School Board.A strong visionary and passionate education leader, Ms. Ellison’s commitment to service rests in putting the needs of children and the community first. She has displayed astute prowess in these capacities for more than 20 years through legislative and policy advocacy on education reform as well as intergovernmental affairs at the local, state, national and international levels.

In addition to her service on the Orleans Parish School Board, Ms. Ellison is a member of various community, business and service organizations. She is owner and CEO of the Ellison Group, LLC and serves as administrator at Gideon Christian Fellowship International.

Ms. Ellison obtained a degree in business administration from Southern University at New Orleans. A graduate of Orleans public schools, she attended Paul B. Habans Elementary, Edna Karr and Oliver Perry Walker Senior High School, respectively. Ms. Ellison is a lifelong resident of the historic Tunisburg/McClendonville community in Algiers, Louisiana.

Ms. Ellison holds several leadership roles on OPSB’s committees. She presides as Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee as well as Chair of the Accountability Committee.

Contact Ms. Ellison – [email protected]

Seth Bloom – District 5, President – View Map
Mr. Bloom resides in the uptown area of New Orleans and works in downtown New Orleans in the warehouse district.  A native of Jacksonville, Florida he has lived in New Orleans for almost 10 years. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and family roots brought him to New Orleans and Loyola University Law School where he served on the Honor Board and received his J.D.  He runs a small law practice focusing in criminal defense and insurance litigation. Mr. Bloom is a two time alumni President of the New Orleans University of Florida alumni club and an activist for public education. He is a member of the American Bar Association, State of Louisiana Bar Association, Eastern District of Louisiana Federal Bar Association, Fifth Circuit Court of Federal Appeals, New Orleans Bar Association, Louisiana Trial Lawyers Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, New Orleans Federal Bar Association (the largest federal bar association in the United States) and is on the Board of Directors of the Young Lawyers New Orleans Federal Bar Association. He is also a New Orleans Civil Sheriff Reserve Deputy and a notary public.


Woody Koppel – District 6 – View Map

Woody Koppel, a native New Orleanian, attended Henry Allen, Jean Gordon, De La Salle and the University of the South at Sewanee, Tn., where he earned a B.A. in fine arts.

Now a successful businessperson, Koppel was an award-winning teacher at James Lewis Elementary, who travelled as far as the Anna Freud Centre in England to learn strategies for teaching at-risk youth. He actively volunteers and is a board member of Boys Hope, Girls Hope. He is married and has a son.

Nolan Marshall, Jr. – District 7View Map

Mr. Marshall was elected to the Orleans Parish School Board in 2012 representing District 7. He has served on several local non-profit boards and has been a member and officer in many school and community organizations. He presently serves on the board of directors for the Bayou District Foundation, which has the responsibility for the redevelopment of the St. Bernard Housing Development area. He is also a board commissioner for the New Orleans Recreation Department.

Nolan Marshall, Jr. is a native New Orleanian, educated at Macarty Elementary in the Lower Ninth Ward (now Martin Luther King Elementary), St. Augustine High School, Loyola University and the University of New Orleans. Known in the community mainly as a photographer, Nolan operated the business his father started in 1948, Marshall Studios, from 1972 to 2013.  He is the father of two daughters and one son, five granddaughters and three grandsons. All have been educated in traditional public schools as well as private, parochial and/or charter schools.

Contact Mr. Marshall – [email protected]

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