Our Team

Chief Executive Officer
Peggy Mendoza is the founding Chief Executive Officer of New Pathways New Orleans. Peggy’s career has been defined by her civic and professional leadership in service to our community’s youth…
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Ava Rogers is the founding Director of Strategic Partnerships at New Pathways New Orleans. Ava is a values-driven leader who has successfully mobilized governments and institutions to better serve communities.…
Director of Policy and Advocacy
Jennifer Coco is the founding Director of Policy and Advocacy for New Pathways New Orleans. In the course of her career, Jennifer has consistently advocated for systemic legal and policy…
Director of Operations
Laura Romanosky is the founding Director of Operations at New Pathways New Orleans. Laura previously was a Business Operations Manager and Director of Student Support within KIPP New Orleans Schools.…

Board Officers

Jay Altman – Board Chair
CEO, Firstline Schools

Melissa Sawyer – Board Vice Chair
Founder and Executive Director, Youth Empowerment Project

Anthony Recasner – Treasurer
CEO, Agenda for Children

Robert Garda- Secretary
Fanny Edith Winn Distinguished Professor of Law, Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law

Board Members

Derwyn Bunton
Chief District Defender, Orleans Public Defender

Keith Crawford
Chief Financial Officer, Krewe Eyewear

Robert Garda
Fanny Edith Winn Distinguished Professor of Law, Loyola University of New Orleans College of Law

Esteban Gershanik
Physician, Brigham & Women’s Hospital

Alison Hartman
Principal, The Hartman Group, LLC

Kunjan Narechania
Assistant State Superintendent, Louisiana Department of Education – Recovery School District

Charlotte Parent
Vice President Business Development, University Medical Center New Orleans

Jonathan Wilson
Vice President, Mortgage, Liberty Bank

Peggy Mendoza

Chief Executive Officer

Peggy Mendoza is the founding Chief Executive Officer of New Pathways New Orleans. Peggy’s career has been defined by her civic and professional leadership in service to our community’s youth and guided by her beliefs in the power of diversity, inclusion and community. Prior to NPNO, Peggy was the Executive Director and Vice President of City Year New Orleans, a service organization devoted to keeping public education students in school and on track to graduate. Before assuming leadership of City Year, Peggy held regional management positions in the private sector for over 20 years with T-Mobile, The Body Shop, and Paul Harris Stores. Peggy has been appointed to and served on numerous local advisory bodies, including the Orleans Parish School Board’s Unification Task Force, New Orleans 2018 Tricentennial Committee, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Super Bowl Host Committee and Mayor Landrieu’s Youth and Families Task Force. Peggy currently serves on the Board of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute (NORLI) and WWNO, the local National Public Radio station. Peggy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations at Tulane University.

Ava Rogers

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Ava Rogers is the founding Director of Strategic Partnerships at New Pathways New Orleans. Ava is a values-driven leader who has successfully mobilized governments and institutions to better serve communities. She brings an extensive achievement record in breaking down institutional silos and integrating the work of entire systems to get results. Prior to joining NPNO, Ava worked as an independent consultant for international and domestic constituents, including the “Global Resilience Partnership” and a New Orleans-based non-profit. From 2013-2016, Ava served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Orleans. Ava has also spent 20 years as a U.S. diplomat in the U.S. State Department, specializing in conflict and emergency settings primarily in Africa and the Middle East. She currently serves on the boards of the Institute for Women and Ethnic Studies, Propeller and the New Orleans Arts Education Alliance. Ava was raised in New Orleans and is a proud alumni of New Orleans public schools. She holds an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Jennifer Coco

Director of Policy and Advocacy

Jennifer Coco is the founding Director of Policy and Advocacy for New Pathways New Orleans. In the course of her career, Jennifer has consistently advocated for systemic legal and policy changes to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, particularly within public education systems. Prior to joining NPNO, Jennifer worked for Southern Poverty Law Center and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Jennifer has served on numerous local and statewide advisory bodies on policy matters relating to a range of K-12 education issues, including serving as the elected Chairwoman of the statewide Advisory Council on Student Behavior and Discipline. Jennifer currently serves as the Board Chair of the Children’s Bureau of New Orleans. Jennifer completed her law degree from the DePaul University College of Law, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Laura Romanosky

Director of Operations

Laura Romanosky is the founding Director of Operations at New Pathways New Orleans. Laura previously was a Business Operations Manager and Director of Student Support within KIPP New Orleans Schools. She has worked as a special education teacher and department chair in Baltimore City Public Schools for five years and for StudentsFirstNY, an education policy organization in New York City. Laura was an Education Pioneers Graduate School Fellow, supporting DC Public Schools. Laura has been civically engaged in New Orleans since coming to the city. She is an advisor with Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans, and a graduate of both the Bryan Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter School’s Charter Board Leadership Academy. Additionally, she serves on the board of Ubuntu Village. Laura holds a Masters of Public Administration from New York University, a Masters in Teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park.