Board Member Focus: Alicia Bendana, Homer A. Plessy Community School
Why did you choose to serve on your school’s board?
The Homer A. Plessy Community School is an arts-integrated, Reggio-inspired community school that aspires to reflect the diversity, creativity and engagement of the St. Roch, Bywater, St. Claude and Marigny neighborhoods that it serves.
I very much wanted to be a part of this dynamic and joyful institution as I believe it captures the best qualities of the emerging community it serves and incorporates those qualities into a unique educational experience. In short, Plessy is a great place for New Orleans children to learn and grow. Life long memories are being made at that school every day.
How did you become involved with your school?
My first experience with the New Orleans Charter School community was when I was asked to help form a non-profit organization to obtain a charter to run two high performing, well established schools on the West Bank. After we formed the non-profit, I was elected President of the Board. From there our Board worked with the schools’ leadership teams to prepare and defend the charter application. It was a tremendous amount of work but I met so many people and learned so much about public education during that time. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.
About a year after my term ended, Makiyah Moody at the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in serving again, but this time on the board of an emerging charter school. I immediately said “Yes!”
There were positions available on several different charter school boards but it was the Homer A. Plessy Community School and its mission as an arts integrated community school that really spoke to me the loudest. I then interviewed with the full board and the Head of School, Joan Riley. I was so impressed with everyone’s knowledge warmth and passion – it was very clear to me that I was in the right place.
What leadership roles have you held while serving on the board?
I am the Treasurer of the Board and the chair of the Finance Committee. I also serve on the Governance and Fundraising Committees.
How can people help your school if they are interested?
People who are interested in helping Plessy should visit the school’s website at plessyschool.org and click on the “Get Involved” tab. From there interested people can learn more about volunteer, mentoring and community partner opportunities as well as all of the different ways to support the school financially.
Also, I highly recommend a school tour!