Sarah Newell Usdin, a Democrat whose campaign for the Orleans Parish school board in New Orleans drew attention for its big contributions from out-of-state education activists, won the 3rd District seat with 58 percent of the vote. An alumna of Teach For America and the former executive director of New Schools for New Orleans, which invests in charter school networks, she defeated Republican incumbent Brett Bonin and Independent Karran Harper Royal.
Ms. Usdin raised $150,000, far more than the average board candidate and than either of her opponents. That level of support was also noteworthy because the board has jurisdiction over only 18 schools, though it could eventually oversee more New Orleans schools returning to local control from the state’s Recovery School District. Ms. Usdin is a vocal supporter of charter schools and of the recovery district.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2012 edition of Education Week as New Orleans Board Seat Goes to Charter Advocate