New Schools for New Orleans | New Orleans, LA
From kindergarten through high school, Amanda Aiken only had one black teacher, Mrs. Lawrence. Her impact on fourth-grade Amanda was profound and lasting. This experience pushed Amanda to want to become a leader in education and tackle representation, talent pipeline, and equity issues in school systems. Amanda’s research and career focus is around ensuring educational leadership pipelines not only diversify but ensure leaders of color thrive
Before joining Harvard’s Doctorate of Educational Leadership program, Amanda had a celebrate and impactful career as a teacher and school and district leader. As a principal in New Orleans, Amanda led the lowest-performing school in the city from an “F” to “C” rating in two years and was one of the first leaders to implement trauma-informed practices and restorative discipline. As Chief External Affairs Officer for the Orleans Parish School Board, she led the rebrand of NOLA Public Schools to be more student- and stakeholder-friendly. Most recently, Amanda served the newly unified NOLA Public Schools as its first Senior Chief Schools and Portfolio Officer and led efforts around creating new policies to support and hold their system of autonomous school accountable. Amanda’s leadership has been honored by Spelman College, The Links Incorporated, the Urban League of Louisiana, and the Millennial Awards in New Orleans. In addition to leading in K-12, Amanda has served as an Adjunct Professor with Relay Graduate School of Education and as an Internship Coach for Teachers College Summer Principals Academy. She is also the Principal Consultant for A. Leigh Solutions LLC., focusing on district strategy, leadership pipelines, external engagement, and trauma informed practices. Amanda holds a B.A. from Spelman and an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University.