Profile of Evan Stoudt, New Orleans Native, Award Winning Teacher, and School Leader of Livingston Collegiate Opening fall of 2016

Evan Stoudt, New Orleans native, set to lead Collegiate Academies’ new high school in New Orleans East. Get to know Evan through a recent interview about his vision for the future of Livingston Collegiate.

Where are you from and how has that influenced your view of education?

I’m a New Orleanian, born and raised, and have grown up with the deeply rooted tradition of inviting people in, connecting, and sharing positive experiences with others. I’m excited to build this experience into the Livingston community. As I think towards the future of our city I believe it will be shaped by the accomplishments of our graduates. Every child is capable of greatness and I promise to ensure our school empowers all students. No matter what it takes.

Why did you decide to teach?

What landed me in the classroom and now the founding principal role was a calling to impact the future doctors, lawyers, social workers, and teachers of New Orleans. Every kid has amazing potential and deserves to be coached through the tough years of high school by a caring, compassionate team of educators. I also struggled to keep up in school and I want to give back and help all kids, especially those like me who didn’t get things the first time. I also wanted to follow in the footsteps of the inspiring teachers and mentors I’ve had through the years.

What is your favorite moment in teaching?

I have a few all time favorite moments in education. I love that time of year in the second month of school when everyone knows one another and people open up. I also love when kids get their results at the end of the year and realize that they’re finally “good at math.” Math classrooms across our nation are full of students with math phobia. That’s no good. Watching that transformation occur as kids get top scores back and realize they’re strong in math, it is so fulfilling. Honestly though, my favorite moment in teaching happens every day. Kids go from participating and leading rich discussions about the content in front of them and have that “aha moment.” Something clicks. They get it. Heads nod, smiles appear, and you realize that young person, through effort and conviction, just put himself/herself a little bit closer to realizing their dreams.

Why did you decide to be a school leader?

I’m so grateful to have had a team of people who taught me what it means to be an educator down to your core, to the center of your being. Through the years I’ve grown up under the watchful eyes of people like Rhonda Dale, principal of Sci Academy, one of the highest performing public high schools in New Orleans. Although I’m anxiously awaiting the start of Livingston, eager to be its founding principal, leading kids to some wonderful places, I feel a bit like it is part of growing up and moving out of the house. I’ve got all these wonderful kids, teachers, and families that I’ve met through the years at Sci Academy and decided to be a school leader so I could go off and welcome a new family, the Livingston Collegiate family.

What is the vision for your school?

My vision of the school is to create a place that inspires positive change in the world every day. Where a kid wakes up in the morning with goose bumps in anticipation of an exciting and challenging presentation he’s been working on for weeks in multiple classes. Not only does the day go by with tons of positive supports but direct and critical feedback for all kids, letting the community know where they stand and how to get better. After a family-style lunch and a whole team meeting during the middle of the day, kids hurtle towards challenging coursework that prepares them for options after graduation. After the first round of busses roll, half of the school decides to stay late into the afternoon for tutoring, debate club, basketball, and more. All of the while kids grow closer to one another and more active in their understanding of the world so they’re equipped to right the injustices that we all face.

It’s graduation 2020, where is your class headed?

2020… wow! At the close of a jubilant and tear-filled graduation, families break off to embrace their proud Livingston alums. Some kids start to get packed up and ready to transition from New Orleans to colleges across the country. Some opt to stay local and find their way to my Alma Mater (Loyola), UNO, Xavier, or take the short drive to ULL and LSU. Others leave Livingston and immediately pursue interesting careers in New Orleans’ booming biomedical, digital media, and arts industries. And for kids with moderate to severe disabilities, they are headed off to Collegiate Academies’ Opportunities Academy, where kids that did not have a traditional post secondary option now do.

While kids find the right fit and land in places that will both challenge and support them, they also stay connected by volunteering at the school and mentoring our new freshman. My real dream, however, is for countless Livingston graduates to stay in New Orleans after they earn their undergraduate and advanced degrees to make a deep and lasting impact in our wonderful community.

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