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Leslie Ellison Writes New Chapter for Historic Algiers Community

keesto | 2/8/2013, 6:30 p.m.
Residents of all generations from the Tunisburg Square/McClendonville neighborhood in Algiers gathered inside of the...
Leslie Ellison Writes New Chapter for Historic Algiers Community

Residents of all generations from the Tunisburg Square/McClendonville neighborhood in Algiers gathered inside of the gymnasium at Edward Hynes Elementary School this week to witness the swearing-in of one of their own--Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) Member and Vice President Leslie Ellison.

Carrying the responsibilities of a new generation of leadership in Algiers, Ellison emerges as a daughter of the community and Tunisburg/McClendonville's first Black and first female elected official, according to one local historian.

With family roots in the community as deep as 200 plus years, Ellison, 46, is a lifelong resident of the historic Tunisburg/McClendonville neighborhood, which was established in 1850. Her forefathers arrived to the community as sharecroppers around that time, and her grandfather, the late Rev. Samuel J. Ellison, Sr., served as pastor of Olive Branch Baptist Church in Tunisburg/McClendonville for 50 years.

Embracing that mandate of leadership, Ellison ran swiftly to claim the victory in OPSB'S District 4 race last November. Since that time, she has been working with community members and leaders to assess the state of education throughout her District.

"This is a historic moment for our community. We have watched Ms. Ellison work gracefully and selflessly throughout our community in ways one could never imagine for many years. We are proud to have her represent us on the school board," says Anna Burrell, community leader.

On Monday, January 14, Ellison was one of seven recently elected OPSB members sworn into office. The inaugural ceremony was a part of the new board's first official board meeting of 2013, during which the board voted unanimously to have Ellison serve as vice president for the next two years.

"I am truly thankful to the citizens of District 4 for entrusting me to share their voice and vision for education on this board," Ellison said. "I started this journey with desires to see youth fulfill their purpose in life and to see my community arise. The work has already started at the community level, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board to see all of our schools become education beacons."

"I am also humbled beyond words at my colleagues' selection of me to serve as vice president and look forward to working alongside them," Ellison added.