Louisiana Our Team Our Team Habib Bangura Eric Nelson Habib Bangura An immigrant from Sierra Leone, Habib has first-hand experience with the challenges confronting many students of color. Due to Habib’s recent immigrant status, his 9th Grade Counselor assumed the “Gifted” recommendation on his 8th grade transcripts were a clerical error and placed him in the Learning Disabled track. It took several months for the school to admit its “mistake,” leaving Habib hurt and disengaged and resulting in a 1.7 GPA in his first two years of high school. Through his mother’s determination and dedicated support and advocacy of a committed teacher, Habib rediscovered his academic joy. He went on to earn degrees from George Mason University, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard Graduate School of Education and dedicate his career to providing all students and particularly students of color with access to responsive, equitable school systems that recognize and tap their potential. Prior to joining Stand for Children, Habib led the implementation of a school turnaround effort that improved 4-year graduation rates by 18% and reduced chronic absenteeism by 22% at one of New York City’s most challenged public high schools. With Stand, Habib has helped expand the 9th Grade Success Network to more than 100 high schools serving forty thousand 9th graders in 50 school districts across four states. Habib launched and directs the CHSS 9th Grade Success partnership in Memphis, Tennessee, where our 13 partner high schools achieved an 18 percentage point average gain in 9th Grade On-Track rates in the 2018-2019 school year, their first year of implementation. Eric Nelson Eric Nelson joined Stand for Children in June of 2021, captivated with Stand’s fierce devotion to social justice. He is excited to support the Center for High School Success’ growth in the state of Louisiana, a land of diverse and talented adults and children. Eric believes deeply that K12 public education is the civil rights of our time and has dedicated his life to this cause. In his 25-year educational career, Eric has worked with schools and leaders in 25 states, visiting 250 schools and over 1,000 classrooms. Eric was a teacher and principal in Wisconsin, a principal in Seattle, area superintendent in Oakland, and a senior director in Michigan. He has also served as a leadership consultant to superintendents and principal supervisors across the country. At every stop, Eric has led dramatic increases in student achievement while also amplifying adult engagement by focusing on joyful progress. Eric resides in New Orleans, the cultural capital of the world, with his partner Chelsea. He loves recording, producing and playing music at his home music studio and soaking in the amazing cuisine, architecture and energy of the city. Eric received his bachelor and master degrees from the University of Wisconsin and his doctorate at the University of Washington studying how central office leaders can learn to focus on equitable student success.