A Baton Rouge charter school, which will open in August at 1900 N. Lobdell Blvd. with an estimated 600-plus students in kindergarten to sixth grade, has hired a Shreveport native and a longtime public school administrator in Las Vegas to serve as its principal.
Christine Stoudt will take the reins as leader of the new Baton Rouge Charter Academy at Mid City. The school was one of two new charter schools in Baton Rouge approved in December by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Charter schools are public schools run privately.
In a telephone interview, Stoudt said she started her teaching career in Shreveport as a middle school language arts teacher, before moving 13 years ago to Las Vegas. In Vegas, one of the nation’s largest public school systems, Stoudt served as a teacher, dean of students, assistant principal, district coordinator and in the newly created position of ombudsman, working with 108 schools, she said.
“We are so excited to have Ms. Stoudt join our team in Baton Rouge,” Billie Miller, vice president of education at Charter Schools USA, said in a news release Friday. “Her experience with urban schools and students will be invaluable as we launch our brand new school in Mid City.”
Charter Schools USA, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., operates two schools in Lake Charles. Baton Rouge Charter Academy is its first school in Baton Rouge. The South Louisiana Charter Foundation hired the organization.
Stoudt earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana — now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette — then went on to earn a master’s of science degree in educational leadership from NOVA Southeastern University in Florida.
Stoudt said she returned to Shreveport in December, but has been to Baton Rouge once already and has found a home. She said she enjoys south Louisiana’s friendliness and culture.
“I could do with a little less humidity, but other than that, you can do a lot worse than good people, good food and good times,” Stoudt said.
Stoudt said there’s a lot of work to do between now and Aug. 9. That includes continued recruiting of new students, hiring a staff and preparing for the new year. She said she is not aware of bus service plans, but said she’s still learning the ins and outs of the school.
Stoudt said Charter Schools USA puts a lot of stock in parent involvement through the use of technology and encouraging volunteers and also closely monitors student data. Another way the organization is different is its emphasis on developing personalized education plans, she said.
“We’re going to identify the strengths and weaknesses of every kid when they come in,” Stoudt said. “It’s not just a group teaching method where if you don’t get it, you don’t get it.”