After Hurricane Katrina, Channa Mae Cook cofounded Sojourner Truth, a charter school with an emphasis on community service and social justice issues, to help lift up New Orleans' embattled school system.
Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Take Channa Mae Cook. The city's comeback story surely will include a chapter on her Sojourner Truth Academy, a coed charter high school with a curriculum tailored around social justice.
The school offers open enrollment. "We take anybody who comes to our door," says Ms. Cook, its principal and cofounder.
IN PICTURES: Hurricane Katrina: 5 years later
In its first year, just over 100 students showed up for class. Two years later, enrollment stands at 260. Students are bused in from every quarter of New Orleans.
Cook helped open Sojourner Truth a little more than a year after arriving in New Orleans in early 2007 as a volunteer in the aftermath of Katrina. Some 80 percent of the city had been affected by floodwaters.
She painted hallways at an elementary school and helped organize and restock its damaged library. She also met educators who were sharing ideas about how the city's public school system, plagued by student poverty, financial duress, and administrative impropriety, could be reshaped.
Page 1 of 4