Our Board

Tanya Lewis

Board Chair & Governance Committee Chair


Tanya Lewis is the Director of Finance and Operations for a national non-profit, Ensemble learning, which provides academic professional development at public schools dedicated to closing the achievement gap. Before joining Ensemble, Tanya founded a nonprofit that supported student achievement by training charter school teams to create and scale strong operations. Previously, she served as the COO of a New Orleans charter network and spent nearly ten years in finance, operations, and student support roles in higher education. She has a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Grambling State University and an MBA in Finance from the University of New Orleans. Tanya believes fiercely in education equity and uses her personal and professional skills to support those working on behalf of underserved students.  



George Jackson

Vice Chair

Governance Committee 


George Jackson is an independent insurance agent operating in and around the Greater New Orleans area. Mr. Jackson is a long-standing community contributor of Jefferson Parish. He has served 10 years on the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce’s Board, and currently President of Metairie Sunrise Rotary Club.  With over 20 years of military experience, he managed two Military Police companies while serving as S-3 of the 2223rd Engineer Battalion. In addition, he was a Commander of Action Element of the Special Reaction Team, Louisiana Army National Guard before retiring. George has been a long-time friend and volunteer of Jefferson RISE and looks forward to serving.



Ianisha Chairs

Secretary 

School Performance Committee 


Ianisha serves as a Drug Court Case Manager for the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court, where she manages home-, school-, and community-related issues and connects families to resources in order to reduce or resolve issues. Previously, she served in several different Probation Officer roles with the Jefferson Parish Government Department of Juvenile Services, as well as graduate assistant at the University of New Orleans and a researcher and file clerk at the Gertier Law firm. Ianisha holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Sociology, both from the University of New Orleans, and is currently working on an additional degree in Educational Administration.  



Emily Hartnett

Treasurer & Finance Committee Chair


Emily is currently a consultant for ILO Group, where she assists system leaders and elected officials in making transformational changes to their educational landscapes. Prior to joining ILO Group, Emily spent over a decade leading and supporting education organizations with start-up, expansion, and strategic improvement efforts. Most recently, Emily served as Chief of Strategy & Advancement of InspireNOLA Charter Schools, a high-performing open-admissions charter management organization serving students in Orleans Parish. She led the network's expansion efforts, increasing from 2 schools serving 1700 students to 8 schools serving over 5600 students over a six year period, and managed human resources, talent, communications, external relations, and data departments. Emily began her career as a second-grade teacher in New Orleans, and also worked as an instructional coach, curriculum director, and school administrator. She holds a master's degree in education leadership from Columbia University, Teachers College and a bachelor's degree from Tulane University. 



Emad Jabbar

Governance Committee Chair 


Emad is a Senior Banker with Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Co. with 10 years of banking experience. He is married with two kids and holds a Bachelors of Science from the University of New Orleans, and he is also a Grad Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Emad has served in many volunteer roles, including President of the Gretna No 2 Dads Club and service co-chair of the Gretna Jubilee, a large event that supports the Westbank Advanced Academies that generates over $100k in donations for the schools.



Shekeitra Matthews 

Board Member

Academic Performance Committee 


Shekeitra is a proud educator who serves as School Principal of Park Ridge Academic Magnet School within the City of Baker School System. She is excited to continue its rich tradition and bring to the campus a multitude of resources that will enrich the school’s academic performance and programming components. Her career in education was not evident early on. Upon graduating high school, she left her hometown of Baton Rouge, LA, enlisting in the United States Army at the age of 17 years old. Within a year of service, she completed a 15-month deployment to Iraq and earned several service awards as a heavy construction equipment operator. Immediately following her deployment, Shekeitra enrolled at Southern University and A&M College to pursue fields of science and allied health, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology and minor in Chemistry from Southern University and A&M College. After careful thought, she decided to further pursue her gift for teaching and learning beyond community service and volunteerism. Shekeitra then enrolled into the Alternative Certification program at Southern University A&M and has since earned her Master of Natural Science at Louisiana State University and A&M College and Educational Leadership licensure for K-12 administration within the state of Louisiana. Throughout her career, she has become a nominee and applicant of the 2014 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Award, earned 2016 Teacher of the Year- District Finalist recognition within the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, and has written several awarded grants on behalf of public and nonprofit organizations. 


Shekeitra strives to consistently invest in her capacity and has attended Lecture Series at Oxford University during her travels to London, Paris, and Amsterdam to better understand the culture and educational practices of exemplary institutions of higher learning. Currently, Shekeitra serves as board member forJefferson RISE Charter School located in Gretna, Louisiana and is happy to be a member of the Inaugural cohort of the Executive Public Policy with the Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences at Southern University and A&M College. She enjoys spending time with her family, dancing, cooking, and traveling. 


She concurs with the famous quote, “education is the most powerful weapon in which you can change the world.”



Shuna Hughson 

Board Member


Shuna is the Program Administrator for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, where she oversees program development, grant, and financial management for the Immigration, Refugee Resettlement Services, English as a Second Language, and Food Pantry Programs.  


Shuna originally hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and has been a proud New Orleanian for about 10 years. She has over 20 years of experience in higher education and the nonprofit sector, and joined the Jefferson RISE Charter School Board because of the positive impact this charter school has had on our youth. She shares RISE’s mission to continue to educate and shape the great minds of the future.



Mona Chawla

Board Member


Over her 10 years in NOLA, Mona has served the community through her work in healthcare leadership, beginning as an administrative fellow at Ochsner Health System and most recently serving as the Vice President for Women & Pediatric Services at Tulane Health System. Mona’s interest in education stems from her Mother, who a teacher herself, instilled the importance of education and how it can serve as the key to opportunity for an individual and their community. Mona earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Masters in Healthcare Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Mona has enjoyed embracing the culture of New Orleans and looks forward to continuing her service through Jefferson RISE Charter School.



Rona Harris

Board Member 


Rona is currently the Assistant Comptroller for the City of New Orleans. She has over 20 years of experience as an accountant.  In that 20 years she has worked for City Government for 10 years.  Rona has over 10 years of experience as an educator in the college/university area.  She received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in accounting from Loyola University of New Orleans in 1999.  She then received her Master of Business Administration degree from University of Phoenix in 2003.


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