Dr. Joe Daschbach
Joe completed his EdD in Education Leadership from Columbia University’s Teachers College in 2018 where he serves on the faculty of their Summer Principals Academy. A former civil engineer and project manager, Joe brings 20 years of experience in public schools, including as a classroom teacher in New Orleans and New York, the founding Director of Finance and Operations for a New Orleans elementary school, and a board member of a New Orleans high school. He brings a wealth of experience to our team. He’s also an avid ultimate player and father to 2 remarkable kids. Contact me about finances, data and strategic development.
Culture and Support Team
Advocate for reparations, and lover of People of the Global Majority, Kei is a New Orlenian with a passion for comfort, rest, and peace. When they are not in the classroom, you can find them creating a culinary masterpiece, growing beneficial plants and herbs, or archiving moments of radical black joy with their camera.
Vanessa Batiste-Leal, PLPC
Vanessa is the grateful School Counselor at Living School. She has a master’s in Clinical Counseling and Rehabilitation from LSU Health Sciences – New Orleans. She grew up in Kenner and went to Ecole Classique for high school before migrating to north Louisiana. Vanessa earned her undergraduate degree by playing NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball as a power forward for the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Vanessa chooses each day to use her clinical skills and personal passion to guide young people and their families to use their strengths for their best selves and a real quality of life that will create a sustainable future. She is a proud military spouse to her husband Warren who serves the state of Louisiana as a full-time National Guardsmen. They are loving parents to their three beautiful children and when they are not volunteering their time for their extra-curricular interests, they are spending time with friends and family.
Marielle is a career educator, proud union member, and Youth Run Nola coach. She grew up in Houston, Texas and got her Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development: Special Education at the University of Texas in Austin. She previously taught 5th, 6th, 7th, & 8th graders English & Math at KIPP Central City Academy. She loves working with young people and is excited to be creating strong viable paths for all students in high school and beyond.
Antonio Travis was born and raised in New Orleans , he started Black Man Rising Movement in 2016 after realizing how much trauma and mental health played a role in black mens destruction after losing friends to suicide and and other circumstances that plague the black community . Antonio has since been apart of other groups to help advance the black agenda in america. He currently runs BMR and also lends his time to other groups like dignity in schools, national youth alliance of boys and men of color , and many other groups. He currently gives his time to the development of the Living Legends at Living School.
Master Ronald George is a life long martial artiest that has dedicated his life to the development of our youth. A father, husband, mentor and friend. He loves to see the progress that kids make with focus and guidance. His life mission is the give every child “A Chance to Succeed” using martial arts and all it has to offer.
Local artist Journey Allen is native to the land of New Orleans which is the inspiration for her vibrant works that intertwine her signature abstract pattern with images that capture the city’s celebratory culture. With a gallery-studio space operating after her namesake in the heart of the Historic 7th Ward Neighborhood where she grew up, Artist Journey Allen embraces a life of community and creativity that defies the odds of a college professor who once told her that she was “unteachable” and “could never learn to paint well enough to become a professional artist.” With these words at the foundation of her path, Journey sources light from this narrative and uses it as a means of empowerment through her work with the youth that she encounters as an arts educator throughout her creative practice.
Ross is a master carpenter with decades of experience across the building trades working both residential and commercial construction, specializing in historic renovation, building material re-use and salvage and artistic collaborative projects. Ross was instrumental in the building of Parisite Skatepark and the Music Box Village in New Orleans.
Rahn Broady grew up in St. Louis and has always loved the natural world. A lifelong lover of science, he attended Harris-Stowe State University and majored in secondary education and biology. Rahn is a career educator, chef, urban gardener, activist, and participant in mutual aid. You can find him working on a variety of creative projects or wandering in nature identifying beneficial plants for processing tinctures, salves, and teas to share with the community. Rahn has an award-winning garden as well as an ice cream speakeasy that keeps him busy when not helping others connect to the natural and growing world.
Aaron is a mathematics educator with experience teaching all ages preK-12. Aaron’s greatest passion in mathematics is for statistics and teaching scientific and critical thinking. Aaron has also taught biology, computer science, music, and ultimate frisbee. Outside of the classroom, Aaron is an avid ultimate frisbee player, board/video gamer, and musician.
Nikki Ummel (she/her) is an educator, editor, writer, and comedian living in New Orleans. When not at Living School, you can catch her at the University of New Orleans where she teaches Freshman Writing or hanging at her favorite haunts performing stand up and/or reading poetry (hey, poetry can be funny!). Check out upcoming shows or recent publicatins at www.nikkiummel.com
I started my career in education in 2008 as a chemistry teacher. I have spent a total of 6 years teaching high school science. I spent three years as an administrator/college and career counselor at a charter school in Kenner. I also attained a master’s degree in educational psychology at University of California, Riverside. My newfound interests are computer programming, agricultural science and construction. I hope to tap into these as a STEM instructor. I have been married going on 14 years and I have 4 children – 3 boys and a girl – that span from 6 months to 13 years of age. My favorite hobby is music production (which, sadly, I have not engaged in many years due to constant transitioning, income and an expanding family…but I will return). I even started my own production company some years ago.
Kaari Aubrey is an alumna of Teachers College, Columbia University (MA, 2017) and Arizona State University (BA, 2014) where she studied English Education and Secondary Education, respectively. A native of Southeastern Louisiana, Ms. Aubrey also completed 6 years of schooling in Ghana, West Africa, and the rest of middle and high school in Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix, Arizona. Her passion for teaching is fueled by empowering students to understand themselves and the world around them through exploration and experience. When she is not teaching, Ms. Aubrey loves traveling, cooking, hiking, reading, and MUSIC. She is committed to decolonizing education, youth and LGBTQIA+ empowerment, and exploring how Black culture influences and evolves the world.
My name is Eduardo Gonzalez. Born in New Orleans and raised in Tabasco, Mexico. There is a Mexican proverb that explains why I am an educator “El valiente vive hasta que el cobarde lo permite”. It’s a proverb for bravery, to take action against those who try to impose and control the lives of others and for me education is more than just that, it is an identity. A feeling of pride, passion, enthusiasm and security. A feeling that must be reflected in our students within our schools and in their daily activities. This is why it is so valuable to have leaders that represent diverse groups of students who will advocate for them, not by being their voice, but teaching them to be brave and raise their own.
James (Jimmy) Luttrell was born and raised in Southern Louisiana where he developed a deep love for the natural world. Jimmy holds a degree in business administration from Florida Tech and draws his influence and inspiration from a life spent traveling and exploring the world. Jimmy has spent his post college years working in the service industry, building fine furniture, and making mixed media art. Jimmy loves helping others learn and is passionate about teaching scientific literacy through hands on application. When not working Jimmy loves spending time with his wife (Rachel) and two boys (James and Oliver), making art, surfing, traveling and eating good food.
Andy Bower is a music educator, arranger, and producer based in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition to his work as an educator, Andy is active as a performer, arranger, and producer throughout the gulf south and his home state of Pennsylvania. With over a decade of teaching experience, dozens of associated performing groups, and several recording credits, Andy has a diverse presence in the music education field and the music industry.