Adrian Morgan, a prominent figure in the New Orleans charter school movement, was found dead Thursday in his Uptown home, the Orleans Parish coroner confirmed.
No cause of death has been announced.
Morgan, 44, was best known in New Orleans education circles for his more than three years as chief executive of the Algiers Charter School Association, one of the city’s largest charter school groups.
Before that, he served as chief operating officer of FirstLine Schools, a group whose founders started the first New Orleans charter school.
Morgan also worked as a charter school consultant and spent a decade as vice president of Edison Learning, a for-profit education management organization.
Only a week before his death, Morgan announced he had taken a new job, as the Louisiana executive director of the Friendship Education Foundation, which manages Friendship Capitol High in Baton Rouge and schools in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
He was combining his duties there with his work at YardStick Learning, an international education consulting firm where he served as executive director of school turnaround.
Morgan took on those jobs after the Algiers charter group’s board abruptly fired him as chief executive in January for what board members said was the local charter schools’ poor academic performance and his handling of personnel matters and organizational management.
The move also came months after he led an investigation into allegations of cheating at L.B. Landry-O. Perry Walker High School, whose stunning rise and subsequent plummet in standardized test scores over two years sparked local and state education leaders’ skepticism and a state inspector general’s investigation.
Despite his dismissal in Algiers, Yardstick and Friendship quickly swooped up Morgan just weeks later.
“Adrian is one of the most strategic school turnaround leaders in the nation with an endless track record of proven success. I’m elated that he’s at the helm of our most critical line of business,” YardStick founder Ebbie Parsons III said at the time.
Upon hearing the news of his death, Friendship’s national founder and chairman, Donald Hense, called Morgan “one of our nation’s strongest advocates for effective education reform.”
“His tireless work to ensure that every child, regardless of background, benefits from a public education that enables them to live, grow and thrive inspired us all,” Hense said. “My prayers are with his family, friends and the entire education community who worked side-by side with Adrian to make a real difference in the lives of our youth.”
In New Orleans, Morgan’s friends and colleagues were shaken by the news. “It’s been a tough day,” said FirstLine co-founder and CEO Jay Altman, who called Morgan’s death “a real loss for kids” in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
“He’d been committed to this kind of work for a long time,” Altman said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Follow Jessica Williams on Twitter, @jwilliamsNOLA.