Hello, I am Amy Lafont and I am running for Orleans Parish School Board District Three, which includes the Lakeview, Gentilly, Mid-City, DeSaix, and Bayou St. John neighborhoods of New Orleans. I am a 10th generation Cajun/New Orleanian, public schools parent, professional facilities consultant/construction project manager, and an active community volunteer. I understand what is happening with our various school systems in detail through direct experience and vigilant monitoring.
I have professionally managed multi-million dollar historic, commercial, industrial, and residential construction, facilities, and budgets, including TwiRoPa Mills Arts and Entertainment, and the Planet of the Dreamers Riverfront Brownfield redevelopment.
I have done extensive education advocacy work in New Orleans since 1994. As a Charter graduate of the New Orleans Youth Action Corps, I taught conflict resolution and environmental education in Gentilly OPSB elementary schools. From 2000-01, I served an AmeriCorpsVISTA term addressing literacy, access to technology, career exploration, and capacity building at Joseph A. Craig in Treme’. My sons have attended public schools since Kindergarten. I faithfully participated in the Lambert, UNOP, and facilities master plan processes as an advocate for neighborhood schools. I have attended most every RSD public meeting in New Orleans since Katrina, and innumerable City Council Education Committee, BESE, and Louisiana Legislative committtee committee meetings where I have reported on the status of public education in New Orleans and positively affected policy to improve conditions, access, and equity for our students and families. I am the only candidate for District 3 with direct experience with our public school systems. My dedication and committment are proven. I am ready to represent District 3 on the School Board.
We are at a crucial time. The School Board we elect now will determine the long-term outcomes of our public schools. Please let me know what your experiences, concerns, and priorities are. Together we can create a healthy public school system for New Orleans!
Amy Lafont for OPSB “3”
(504) 416-9766 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference Letter from Dr. Steven H. Lesser
Steven H. Lesser, M.D.
501 Oliver Hill Way, Richmond, Virginia 23219
Clinical Faculty Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine
Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, Virginia
Clinical Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Section of Emergency Medicine
Louisiana University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
Diplomate, American Board of Emergency Medicine
Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Eligible, American Board of Internal Medicine
Eligible, American Board of Tropical Medicine
October 3, 2007
To Whom It May Concern:
It is a pleasure to write in recommendation of Ms. Amelia Lafont. I have known Ms. Lafont for over 5 years. I met her when she volunteered to assist me with an expropriation of my property by the state. I hired her to assist me at that time, and when discussing the matter and my requirements with her, I noted that she was extremely bright, highly principled, as well as dedicated to seeing that the right thing be done and the high road taken.
She initially functioned writing letters, making applications for federal, state tax programs, city permits, and development-related programs in relation to the preservation and operations of a large-scale sculpture and graphics facility (30,000 sq ft), and the conversion of historic buildings to a major multicultural arts and entertainment complex (73,000 sq ft). Because of her skill, tenacity, attention to detail, and above all her honesty and dependability, her role evolved into Project Manager for those and later projects that I have undertaken. These included another more comprehensive fine arts production facility (59,000 sq ft) and a satellite facility (17,000 sq ft). She has skillfully managed navigation of Federal, state, and city governments, organizing construction crews, tax programs, finance documents, equipment schedules, utilities, community relations, and insurance policies, all with an eye for detail and propriety. Ms Lafont also aided me through the painful process of a multimillion dollar Katrina loss recovery effort and relocation. I have found her over the years to be capable and completely dependable. I can recommend her highly without reservation.
Dr. Steven H. Lesser
My Curriculum Vitae
Amy (Amelia) Lafont
935 North White Street, New Orleans, LA 70119
PO Box 51153, New Orleans, LA 70151
(504) 416-9766 /email@example.com
Born January 21, 1975. Acadian/Creole raised near the Gulf of Mexico and Bayou LaFourche in Cut Off, Louisiana, Sarasota, Florida, and New Orleans. A mother of two school-age sons, Bayou St. John homeowner for 11+ years, experienced Katrina evacuation and substantial family and community losses. Focus on sustainable, big-picture social justice and real estate development.
Loyola University New Orleans Fall 1995 – Spring 1997
Undergraduate Studies in Sociology, Minor in Business Administration
Ignation Scholar, Emerging Leader, Honor Student
Ridgewood Preparatory School, Metairie, Louisiana September 1991 – June 1992
Louisiana High School Diploma
Attended Sarasota High School, Sarasota, Florida 1988-1991
Certificates & Memberships
City of New Orleans Contractor’s College, Class of Spring 2005
UNO Small Business FastTrac Program, Class of Fall 2002 / Spring 2003
Louisiana Small / Emerging Business (SEBD) Certified 2002-2009
Attended Courses at Green Tech U, City of Chicago, while displaced Fall 2005
Member, Home Builder’s Association of Greater New Orleans
Member, Steel Framing Alliance of North America
Agent X Consulting, LLC, New Orleans January 2002- Present
Consultant, Business Owner
“Secret Operatives for the Forces of Good” specializing in discreet and time-sensitive project management, real estate research, technical writing, property development and litigation support.
Dr. Steven H. Lesser, New Orleans, Louisiana January 2002- Present
Owner-Side Project, Construction, Facility, Fleet, and Business Manager
- Full administrative responsibility for the $2m pilot EPA/City of New Orleans Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Project, which was also a LEED-eligible National Park certified Historic Restoration redevelopment of a large abandoned Bywater Riverfront industrial complex to specialized fine art studios and residence. This project successfully rehabilitated the City of New Orleans’ top priority blighted site of 2002 and returned the property to commerce.
- Apprenticed in and then managed construction, historic restoration and adaptive re-use of over 100,000 square feet of prime commercial historic properties and multiple business entities including the TwiRoPa Mills Arts and Entertainment complex, Pre-Katrina New Orleans’ largest privately owned entertainment venue, and the old New Orleans Ice House, converted to a fine arts studio.
- Provided concurrent intensive trial support for $10.5m jury verdict expropriation lawsuit Louisiana Convention Center Authority v. 1500 Tchoupitoulas LLC under attorneys Randy Smith and Mr. Johnny Cochran, in the defense of a 30,000 square foot 1855 factory/arts complex.
- Business management responsibilities included multimillion dollar accounts payable and receivable, internal audits, forensic accounting, construction and operations budgets.
- Managed extensive industrial and high-end, antique to modern technology arts production equipment, and an extensive 30+ 1940s-1960s car collection including Cadillac limousines, a DeSoto, Buick Super 8, motorcycles, trucks, buses, trailers and other unusual vehicles.
- Post-Katrina, completed four successful SBA loans and documented over $17m in property and business losses, developed written business recovery plans, and assisted in business relocations to new regions. Continued bookkeeping, support, and local representation.
Private Developer, New Orleans
Managed records, correspondence, and scheduling; tracked over $3m in real estate and luxury goods inventory. Assisted with property and vehicle acquisitions and rehabilitations. Provided legal research and trial support for complex lawsuits.
Heritage Entertainment, “The Home Front” Lockport, Louisiana
Rotated in 4 departments, Office, Art, Wardrobe, and Transportation, on the set of an independent feature film directed by Cannes Film Festival Award Winner Glen Pitre.
AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, New Orleans 2000 – 2001
UNITY for the Homeless; The United Way; Craig Elementary; EachOne/SaveOne
Job Developer / Researcher / Grant Writer / Program Developer
- Networked with community leaders, employers, and training providers to assist homeless clients into sustainable employment. Coordinated support services among over 50 HUD sub-granted and faith-based shelters and agencies. Assessed availability of resources for homeless in New Orleans for federal reporting and funding allocation. Supported public relations and donations drives.
- In work on literacy, served as literacy programs developer and inter-agency liaison for site support and community groups for Rolling Readers programs. Served in capacity building to Craig Principal Shelia Young. With a VISTA partner, wrote a successful $70,000 PowerUp grant for a computer lab for Treme’ Community Center.
The Herb Import Company, Mid-City New Orleans
Opened a continuously successful second location of a locally owned nutrition store, and then also co- managed the French Quarter store as needed. Responsible for building and maintaining inventory, personnel, business financial systems, and customer service.
Whole Foods Market, Esplanade Store, New Orleans 1996 – 1997
Nutrition Team Member
Southwest Regional Editor for InnerViews Magazine, Corporate Office, Houston
- Merchandising, inventory, and sales of high-quality nutritional supplements and body care products. Intensive customer service to a large and very diverse client base. Continuous education, research and training in nutritional healing.
- Wrote bi-monthly articles on events and promotions for 13 regional stores and 10,000 readers nationwide, including two cover articles, for in-company magazine.
The Twomey Center for Peace Through Justice, Loyola New Orleans 1995- 1997
Assistant Editor, Blueprint for Social Justice
Assistant to the Director, ECO-nomics Institute
- Prepared articles for publication and distributed published material. Managed a database of 3,000 international subscribers. Fundraising and accounting. Maintained a 50-year old Jesuit institution for training in social justice teachings established by the Founder of the Institute for Industrial Relations at Loyola University, Father Louis Twomey.
- Concurrently served as Assistant to the Director of the ECO-nomics Institute, Richard McCarthy, for the last year of planning and first year of implementation of the Crescent City Farmers Market.
New Orleans Youth Action Corps (NOYAC), New Orleans 1994 – 1995
AmeriCorps Volunteer – Education / Special Projects Team Member
Mweusi Willingham, Team Leader
Paint Exchange Manager – Mid-City Green Project
Charter Graduate of the Federal AmeriCorps community service and leadership development program in a team of 12 in a Corps of 70, a unique opportunity with many blessings:
- Received specialized training in and then led conflict resolution and environmental education workshops with Orleans Parish Public School elementary classrooms of 25-35 Kindergarten-6th grade students. Concurrently served as Site/Volunteer Coordinator for New Orleans Outreach afterschool tutoring program at Langston Hughes Elementary.
- This NOYAC team was uniquely mobilized to serve and gain experience on other teams’ projects, so this team also raised houses with Habitat for Humanity on College Court in Gert Town, fed homeless at Ozanam Inn in the CBD, helped Uptown at the Audubon Institute Zoo, supported Jazz Fest safety, did wetlands preservation with Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, and helped to build Mikey’s Memorial Garden with Parkways Partners in Central City.
- With a team member, created a specialized internship program within NOYAC, and then served the Founder and Director of the Mid-City Green Project (now the Green Project) as their first dedicated AmeriCorps member, with primary responsibility for site, product, materials, and volunteer management, and providing support to community garden and childrens’ art programs.
- After completion of the AmeriCorps term of service, was hired as Paint Exchange Manager, the first paid staff of The Green Project organization. With the Director and an active board, participated in fundraising and grant writing to establish the building materials recycling component. Responsible for daily oversight of facility development and operations including paint recycling, safety, creative re-use of donated materials, and on-site implementation of non-profit building materials salvage and re-use retail sales serving Greater New Orleans.
Selected Community Service
Louisiana Department. of Health and Hospitals, Medical Care Advisory Committee, Medicaid Citizen Representative, 2000- 2005
Heaven’s Gate Playground – Retired law enforcement and community leaders’ 7th Ward sanctuary for children. Secretarial and special event assistance to Mrs. Alma and Keith Woodfork for the Children’s Playground, and annual Christmas toy, school supplies, Thanksgiving and Easter give-a-way’s and festivities. Volunteer, 2003 – present.
F.O.L.C. – Friends of Lafitte Corridor, establishing a greenway through 4 very historic NOLA neighborhoods. In Spring 2006, with 3 others, co-founded the organization and as a volunteer acquired an $85,000 State DOTD Rails to Trails grant to fund basic construction of 3.3 miles of bike path construction, which in turn has attracted completion funding, prioritization and implementation by the City’s Office of Recovery Management. Member, Spring 2006- present.
Neighborhoods Partnership Network – City-wide umbrella community recovery organization. Founding Member, Board of Directors, 2006 – 2008.
Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association Advisory Board Member, Fall 2007- present.
SOS Frederick Douglass Community Coalition, member, Spring 2008- present.
Selected Agent X Consultations
N.O.T.E. – On August 23, 2005, Agent X accompanied the leadership of the Neighborhood Organization of Treme’ East to the District Attorney’s Office to present and receive endorsement for a job and social skills program to be implemented at Orleans Parish Prison called “Second Chance for a New Beginning.” X created professional program materials from handwritten documents. This program is now being implemented by a Sheriff’s office in South Carolina.
Falstaff Brewery – This is a very complex Brownfield to senior/multi-family housing redevelopment project. During 2005, Agent X assisted in the lengthy acquisition process by producing research and reporting to resolve title issues for the purchasers, attorneys, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court.
City of New Orleans, Office of Recovery Management – with Agent X Consulting, ORM co-convened a collaborative planning session for workforce development initiatives and service providers to plan with each other, community leaders and stakeholders, Spring 2007.
S.M.C.L. Foundation – Serves people of all ages and backgrounds with disabilities, develops affordable universal access housing, and is preparing to do local workforce trainings. Fundraising, grant writing, program development, general administrative assistance, Summer 2007 – present.
Private Developer/General Contractor – X provides on-going project development support to this Manhattan-based general contractor/investor undertaking a specialized multi-family housing development in New Orleans, practicing environmental, cultural and economic sustainability through an emphasis on locally sourced materials and craftspeople. Fall 2007 – present
New Orleans Healing Center – Grantwriting /organizational development, Spring – Summer 2008