The city of New Orleans has seen a lot of changes, but perhaps none as dramatic as the changes that occurred after Hurricane Katrina. While teaching in California and working on her Ph.D., Pandwe Gibson immediately felt that she simply had to help out.
Originally Pandwe Gibson from New Orleans was saddened by both the effects of the hurricane and then by the oil spill in the Gulf that so drastically impacted the economy for both fishermen and the tourist industry. To help those in the community, and to provide a better quality of education in a city that already had a high level of poverty and poor school achievement ratings, Dr. Gibson was determined to make a difference.
The Founding of a Charter Management Organization
While completing her Ph.D. and working as an assistant principal, Dr. Gibson developed and wrote a charter for New Orleans schools. In 2011, she was able to open the ReNew Charter Management Organization, which was the first of its kind in the Southern United States.
Starting out with six schools, the Charter set forth goals for growth and achievement. Working as a director, Dr. Gibson increased the number of schools in the Charter to eleven in the second year and up to sixteen by the third year.
In addition to adding to the number of schools in the Charter, there was also a dramatic change noted for the students. In the first six schools, student achievement in math classes as well as English increased by 30%, all key indicators for enhanced student achievement.
Dr. Gibson continues her passion for helping others. Her new venture, EcoTech Visions in Miami, provides an incubator and maker space for small business and entrepreneurs in the green sector to learn, grow and develop and to market green technology, services, and products for a sustainable world.