Meet Kira

Kira as a child


As the daughter of a single mother who often made sacrifices to ensure her child attended the very best schools, Kira understands many of the challenges faced by families who want more for their children. Having grown up in an inner city neighborhood, when she became a teacher, she felt an even stronger responsibility to ensure the 4th graders she taught received a great education. Kira has spent almost 20 years as a committed leader and educator in our community. She has experience as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, a non-profit executive and on BESE working hard to advance statewide policies that give all our students every opportunity to reach their full potential. She knows firsthand: all our students have the potential to achieve at the highest levels, enter the workforce prepared to succeed throughout our state, and to compete nationally and globally.

Kira graduation

Because of Kira’s dedication and efforts on BESE, academic achievement, college admission and career success are attainable goals for more and more of our most needy students

Kira’s Commitment to Education

Kira in group photo with kids

Public Service

Kira was has served as the District 2 Representative for the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for the last eight years. In this position, she has represented 400,000 Louisiana residents across 8 parishes on the 11-person board. The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is the administrative body for all Louisiana public elementary and secondary schools. It also performs certain administrative functions for the state’s non-public elementary and secondary schools. BESE adopts regulations and enacts policies governing the operations of those schools under its jurisdiction and exercises budgetary oversight of their educational programs and services. Kira commitment does not stop there; however, she also served as the District B Representative of the New Orleans Recreation and Development Commission (NORDC). She was appointed by then-New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the City Council to represent the Council District as a member of a 12-person Commission responsible for crafting and implementing the vision, direction, and strategy of the city’s largest department, serving 300,000 New Orleans residents and 70,000 children.


Honors and Affiliations

Time 100, 2015

Selected by Time Magazine of one of one- hundred most influential people in the world because of contributions to the field of education

New Orleans Alliance for Diversity and Excellence, Innovator Award, 2014

Recognized for civic leadership and outstanding service to schools

Annual Women Worth Watching Award, Diversity Journal, 2013

Award celebrating the achievements and personalities of leading women executives, nominated by peers and mentors. The primary criteria for inclusion are the individual’s attainment of a senior executive management position, or be a member of the board of directors, or report to the president or CEO of the organization (business, educational or government institution, military, etc.), and have distinguished herself in her career or chosen field.

Teach For America, Peter Jennings Alumni Excellence Winner, 2012

Award granted annually from Teach For America to one top alum or group of alumni, from over 50,000, that exemplify leadership, and unprecedented results in the field of education.

Aspen Institute Education Entrepreneurship Fellowship, 2010; Aspen Moderator, 2013

One of twenty-four education entrepreneurs selected through national nomination process to go through rigorous two-year leadership seminar intended to build leadership capacity of field; Then selected at completion of fellowship to participate in moderator cohort, responsible for training future fellows.

New Orleans Young Leadership Council Role Model Award, 2010

One of twenty New Orleans civic leaders honored for exemplary community service and leadership

New Orleans City Business Woman of the Year, 2009

One of thirty New Orleans women selected for demonstrated results and outstanding leadership in business

New Orleans Alliance for Diversity and Excellence, Innovator Award, 2014

Recognized for civic leadership and outstanding service to schools


Kira Orange Jones: All Children Deserve the Opportunity to Achieve, Time Magazine, Shaping Our Future (2015)

Ten People Who Are Changing Education Today – And Will Be 10 Years from Now (2013)–and_will_be_10_years_from_now.html

Young Education Leader: Kira Orange Jones, Education Week (2013)

Announcing the 2019 Women Worth Watching®Award Winners, Diversity Journal (2013)

Louisianians of the Year, Louisiana Magazine (2012)

“TIME” for Kira Orange JonesHarvard Ed. Magazine (2009)

The Greatest Education Lab, Time Magazine (2008),9171,1659767,00.html