Class of InspireNOLA – Trenise Duvernay

Class of InspireNOLA – Trenise Duvernay
Posted on 11/05/2020

InspireNOLA Charter Schools’ Trenise Duvernay went from not really liking math as a student to becoming a math content specialist who coaches teachers on developing best practices for instruction.

“It was only when I related things to money, that I finally figured out math,” she said.

As an elementary math teacher, Duvernay said she used that revelation to get her students interested in math and to understand its importance in daily life.

 “I told them that they needed to know math because they need to know if they are paying way too much or too little for something,” she said.

Today, Duvernay shares her insights and experience with other InspireNOLA teachers, helping them develop and grow as instructors. Prior to this position, Duvernay, who has been teaching since 1998, was a master teacher and instructional coach at Alice Harte before Jamar McKneely, cofounder of InspireNOLA Charter Schools, came on as principal. 

“When InspireNOLA started and took on Andrew Wilson, I interviewed for the position of math content specialist,” she said.

Initially, Duvernay was skeptical about the position because she didn’t want to be removed from students or schools. 

“When I found out I would be able to interact with more kids in more schools, I said okay, let’s try this,” she said. 

Now she spends her days working with students and teachers, helping both grow and reach their potential. As a content specialist, she is responsible for creating and evaluating assessments, providing professional development workshops, and coaching classroom teachers as well as instructional coaches to ensure that scholars receive only the best instruction. 

This year, Duvernay is housed at 42 Charter, where she serves as the primary content support for the third through eighth graders there.

“I enjoy working with elementary students because I am able to see the growth of the kids,” she said, adding that elementary school is when she herself developed a love of education. She said it’s not unusual when she walks into a classroom to hear students say, “Ms. D is here. Do your work!”

“I want students to take education seriously, and I want them to put forth their best effort,” she said. “They know I don’t like anything below a B.”

Duvernay said she’s “more of a nurturer than disciplinarian” who feels more effective at the elementary level.

“They know I value their education. For them to know someone is interested in their education is telling,” she said. “Believing in them and showing them love is important, so that they get the love and support from me, like it was given to me as a student.”

Duvernay is actually an alumna from two of the schools she currently serves in the InspireNOLA network: Andrew Wilson and Eleanor McMain.

“It’s really exciting to go back to my schools and see what’s the same and what’s different,” she said.

Duvernay said she loved her time spent at Wilson both as a student and as an educator. 

“I love experiencing the family feel among the staff there. I saw that growing up. That family feeling permeates the building,” she said.

Duvernay said back in 1994, McMain was referred to as a “nerdy school” but said she really enjoyed her time there.

“Our Principal, Cliff St. Germaine, knew everyone’s name. I got to work with him at InspireNOLA in the beginning, and that was cool,” she said. “Mr. Green (McMain’s current principal) has the same personal rapport and cares for students. I feel they are getting the same treatment I did.”

“There are still caring teachers and administrators in these schools now as when I was there,” she said, “and I love that.”

Class of InspireNOLA is an ongoing series profiling current InspireNOLA Charter Schools teachers and staff that are alumni of one our eight schools.