InspireNOLA timeline

The history of InspireNOLA

InspireNOLA Charter Schools was co-founded in 2013 by Jamar McKneely and John Hiser. Its mission is to transform and inspire an educational movement by better supporting the needs of the schools, students, parents, staff, and community.

The network began by chartering two historic and high-performing district-run schools — Alice Harte Charter School, which was under the direction of McKneely as principal, and Edna Karr High School, where Hiser severed as principal.

In 2014, McKneely stepped out of his school leadership role and transitioned to CEO of the CMO. He realized that the impact of InspireNOLA could be greater than solely serving the 1800 students at their two schools – and that the most urgent need was students who were currently attending failing schools.

In 2015, InspireNOLA was awarded the charter for Andrew H. Wilson Charter School. Wilson has continued to show growth each year under InspireNOLA management, going from an F to a C school in just two years, and has shown continued growth over four years on LEAP mastery and above scores.

In 2017, Eleanor McMain High School became part of the InspireNOLA network, where went from a C to a B school in a year.

Only a month later, InspireNOLA was also awarded the charter for 42 Charter School, formally known as McDonogh #42. In both 2018 and 2019 under InspireNOLA, the school gained a 7 percentage point increase in mastery and above on LEAP scores.

Dwight D. Eisenhower joined the InspireNOLA Charter Schools network in 2018. In its first year as part of InspireNOLA, the school increased 9 percentage points in mastery and above on its LEAP scores.

McDonogh 35 is a legacy in the city of New Orleans. Opening in 1917, it was the public high school New Orleans for African-American pupils. McDonogh 35 made history again by being the last public district-operated school in the city. In 2019, InspireNOLA took over management the last eleventh and twelfth grade classes of McDonogh 35 and re-opened it as a fresh-start high school, beginning with 9th grade in year one. It will continue to grow one grade level each subsequent year.

In 2020, Pierre A Capdau Charter School joined the InspireNOLA network.

Currently, InspireNOLA’s 600+ staff serves more than 5,500 students in eight schools. It is the highest performing open-admission charter management organization in New Orleans and is the only network with one A-graded school and two B-graded schools.