by Elizabeth K. Jeffers
Sarah Newell-Usdin of Louisville, Kentucky came to Louisiana as a Teach for America recruit and moved up in the organization to become the Louisiana director of TFA. Usdin is now an OPSB elected representative.
Usdin’s family members are supporters of charter schools and the Recovery School District.
One of the firms hired to create the School Facilities Master Plan was Concordia, an architecture and planning firm founded by Stephen Bingler, whose wife is Linda Usdin, Sarah Usdin’s sister in law. Bingler was also a member of the Bring New Orleans Back Education Committee Stakeholder Advisory Committee. From 2005 through 2008, Linda Usdin was a member of “the design team that developed plans for the investments in the Gulf Coast region post-Katrina.”
In 2007, the RSD and the OPSB agreed to sign $3.8 billion in contracts with Concordia LLC and Parsons Corporation to serve as consultants for the Comprehensive Master Plan. Amy Lafont, a parent from New Orleans who ran for school board, brought her concerns about Concordia LLC to the Louisiana House Education Committee in 2008.