Nancy Roberts, who founded the educator library Louisiana Resource Center for Educators in 1998 and has run it ever since, announced Friday that she is retiring.
The nonprofit education organization began accepting applications for a new executive director Friday as well. Over the past two decades, LRCE’s library has grown from 5,000 to more than 110,000 titles at its office on Florida Boulevard. The library, in a novel arrangement, lends materials to public, private and home school educators alike. LRCE also offers regular teacher training in a variety of areas.
In 2003, it started an alternative certification program, later renamed LRCE Teach!, that has trained more than 1,800 new teachers and placed them in public and private schools in 55 parishes across Louisiana.
Roberts announced her retirement several years ago only to come back when the organization had trouble finding her replacement. Now, she said her departure is for good. She said she’s stayed for the past 19 years because of the wide range of education, community and business leaders she worked with, as well as LRCE’s dedicated staff.
“Every minute of this adventure has been an honor for me,” said Roberts. “The teachers and students who have benefited from our resources number in the thousands.”
A disappointment for Roberts was a charter school started by her nonprofit, the Career Academy, which was closed in 2015 after four years in operation. Years in the making, the school aimed to train students for jobs right out of high school. That it did, but it also faltered academically and suffered from changes in leadership and staff. It also was never fully embraced by the East Baton Rouge Parish school system and local business leaders, which are teaming up to build their own career high school in the Melrose East area.
After that experience, Roberts launched a smaller initiative in the same vein, Find Your Future, a three-part program that teaches soft skills to high school sophomores to better prepare them for careers and college.