Educational Activist and Doctoral Student
Excelling for Excellence Educational Services, LLC
A native New Orleanian and mother, Rayven has worked in education for over a decade. She became an educator because she had witnessed both the best and worst of education in New Orleans and believed – then as now- that students can and will learn in carefully crafted environments that motivate them, embrace them as individuals, and support achievement.
She began her career at the highest performing school in St. Mary Parish and achieved the highest English scores at the school. She subsequently asked the Superintendent to transfer her to the district’s lowest- performing school, much to his surprise.
The simple reason for this request? Rayven wanted to work with children who “look like me, but who did not have the same opportunities that were afforded to me.” At Franklin Junior High, which suffered from unfortunate student growth outcomes at the time, Rayven worked for three years as a lead technology teacher, content leader, and grade-level chair. She designed rigorous learning programs and professional development opportunities and, ultimately, achieved 48% growth in 7th grade and 50% in 8th grade alone. She is quick to credit the students’ hard work to make this exciting achievement possible.
As an experienced and proven teacher-leader, Rayven was selected by the Louisiana Department of Education to work on the design and implementation of the Guidebooks curriculum for English Language Arts students across the state of Louisiana in (2015-2016) as well serve on the Instructional Review Committee for the state. Rayven’s career then took her to St. James Parish, where she served as a District Instructional Specialist. She combined her passion for student achievement in the classroom, her knowledge of curriculum and instruction, and her talent for building and leveraging mission-driven teams to achieve unprecedented growth. By implementing a robust teacher support system, with weekly Professional Learning Communities and real-time coaching, among other changes, she was able to help drive growth in the School Performance Score based on student achievement and increased the School Performance Score.
Rayven went on to take her achievement-oriented education experience, her ability to coach adults and drive strong school-wide culture to the roles of Assistant Principal and Academy Director from there. She joined Mary D. Coghill School in 2018 and initially served as Academy Director. She became Head of School/CEO in 2019, inheriting a failing grade from the State Department of Education. Never one to shy from a challenge, Rayven went to work to turn the school around. In short order, Coghill had earned an A for financial stewardship, several non-compliances were closed under her leadership, and the school was on an upward trajectory.
At the outset, Rayven’s confidence in the team she had assembled and in the school’s Board of Directors (Better Choice Foundation) led her to take her boys out of private school and enroll them at Coghill. Rayven’s hard work, and that of her team and the students themselves led to a turn-around that earned the school the vote of confidence of the New Orleans School Board, which recognized the progress and voted to keep the school under its current leadership to continue its positive trajectory. The Superintendent of Schools overrode this vote and awarded the school to another charter. Despite this blow, Rayven committed to staying to lead the school through what was perhaps the New Orleans School District’s most challenging time, steering the students and their families through the Covid-19 epidemic and ensuring 8th-grade Seniors an unprecedented and special graduation.
Currently, Rayven is pursuing her doctorate at the University of Holy Cross- New Orleans in Executive Leadership and has co-founded (with Lynn Polk, former Coghill School Principal), Excelling 4 Excellence, an education consultancy created to empower parents and students.