Deirdre Johnson Burel
Executive Director, Orleans Public Education Network
Nominee: Jeannie Oakes
Deirdre Johnson Burel has a background in education, nonprofit management and state level policy analysis, advocacy and program development. Her work spans the state and local levels, in both the public and nonprofit sectors. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters of Public Administration from New York University’s, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. With a career spanning more than 20 years, she has honed a reputation as an education policy expert, trusted leader, skilled facilitator with a keen ability to foster alliances among unlikely allies. She brings these skills to her current work leading the Orleans Public Education Network (OPEN) an organization committed to building the bridge between schools and community to ensure an excellent and equitable education for every public school student in in New Orleans.
She has been on the front lines of public education and community engagement in New Orleans post-Katrina and has spoken on the subject at numerous national conferences including Policy Link, American Education Research Association Education and National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) among others. Under her leadership at OPEN, the organization has launched programmatic anchors like the Parent Leadership Training Institute, engaged more than 3,000 New Orleanians, and successfully advocated for development of the ONE APP and increased transparency in the charter application process. OPEN continues to serve as the only community outlet for addressing the long-term plan for local governance of public schools and has the developed the only community framework for public education – The People’s Agenda.
Deirdre is the proud of aunt of four nieces and three nephews and currently resides in uptown New Orleans with her husband, Dwight.