Board Member Focus: Walter Morales, Louisiana Charter Academies and Inspire Charter Academy

WalterMorales-sqWhy did you choose to serve on your school’s board?
I have met many individuals who serve on charter school boards, and all of us do it out of a need to give back to our communities. I was also attracted to the opportunity to make a difference in the life of so many young people and the promise that charters may represent a better way of delivering public education to our children. It is also an amazing learning opportunity and it is challenging — much more challenging than I originally thought. But with the challenges have come incredible victories, learning opportunities for us as a board, our administrators and parents, as well as our students.

How did you become involved with your school?
I was invited to be a founding member of the Inspire Academy Board by a long-time friend and tireless advocate for education, Sister Judith Braun. Sister Judith is an amazing woman and tireless educator and community activist. A couple of years later, I was a founding member of Louisiana Charter Academies. Our schools engaged National Heritage Academies (NHA) to operate them and our hope is to bring to Louisiana the success NHA has enjoyed in other parts of the country.

What leadership roles have you had while serving on the board?
I am the board chairman for Louisiana Charter Academies and a director for Inspire Academy. I also serve on our audit committee.

How can people help your school if they are interested?
Our schools have many needs. When we opened the doors of Advantage and Willow Academies last year only about 15 percent of our students were proficient at their grade level. This is a huge gap, and it takes an enormous effort to make it up. Volunteers who can tutor and mentor are needed. People who want leadership opportunities on our board are welcome. Finally, I would add that teachers, not just at our schools but at any school, need support. It is a difficult job with long hours and low pay. Our teachers need and deserve our respect and support.