Board Member Focus: Joseph Hugg, Algiers Charter School Association

JosephHugg-sqHow did you become involved with the Algiers Charter School Association (ACSA)?
I learned about The Top Shelf program while delivering a presentation to the Association’s membership regarding labor law issues and unions’ recent attempts to organize charter school teachers. The board chair for the ACSA reached out to me within one month of my Top Shelf Board Bank submission because they needed a board member with experience addressing labor/employment/human resources issues.

Why did you say yes when asked to serve?
As a life-long New Orleanian, I am thrilled with the progress made in local public schools in the last several years. It is no secret that these improvements are the result of the spread of charter schools in the city. Many of the principles on which charter schools have been established — specialized curricula, modern technology, school-specific management, school choice for parents and focus on student achievement — are similar to the foundations of virtually every successful modern organization. Put simply, effective charter schools are providing a better education today, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of that progress with the ACSA, which has led and improved charter schools since soon after Hurricane Katrina.

What was compelling about the opportunity?
I am thrilled to be part of progress and change in New Orleans schools.

What leadership roles have you held while serving on the board?
Over the last year, I have used my experience in human resources/employment law issues to lead an effort to monitor our compliance with applicable laws and to minimize our organization’s legal risks. We are fortunate to have highly effective leaders in our administration, and they deserve credit for successfully navigating the complex minefield created by state and federal laws and regulations. I have also been a member of the finance committee since my election to the board.

Is there anything you know now that you wished you had known before?
Serving on a charter school board requires time and commitment to your schools’ mission. Fortunately, staying motivated is not difficult because you are directly helping improve children’s lives, and you can see the students’ enthusiasm and gratitude every time you visit your school. I’m not sure there is anything more motivating than that!