Parent and family voices are essential to the success of our schools and the outcomes of our children.

alignED New Orleans works at the intersection of education advocacy and grassroots organizing to accelerate the impact of public education and improve the quality of learning for the children in our community.

Our mission is to build momentum for equity-centered policies that strengthen and support both families and schools. We collaborate with parents, families and community partners, to amplify their voices, and align resources to advocate for a great education for every child.

Our Vision


Fostering meaningful engagement with parents and families to accelerate the impact of public education and improve educational opportunities for the children in our community.


Advocating for equitable education and public policy and empowering the voices of our parents and families.


Educating parents and the community on how to leverage resources in an effort to impact how our students learn and grow.

Our Values


We focus on ensuring that our families receive what they need to succeed. Providing our marginalized community members with quality education options and helping to reduce racial and economic disparities, are a few ways that we can achieve this goal.


Effective communication, both formal and informal aids in the achievement of our organizational goals. We are committed to creating, transmitting, and sharing clear and concise information with our families and students.


We advocate for equitable education and public policy for our community in an effort to gain access and reduce barriers that our students and families may encounter in the public school system.


Making meaningful partnerships is important to achieving success in the work that we do. We know that we are unable to do it alone, so we partner with other organizations in an effort to maximize our impact.

In order for us to succeed, we must all work together.

Parents & Families

Providing access to resources that enable our families to continue to support their most precious assets- the children.


Transforming education experiences for our children by leveraging resources and advocating for change on their behalf.


Working with and for the New Orleans community to ensure that everyone has a voice. It does indeed take a village!

Organization History

Dana Peterson, President of alignED New Orleans’ Board of Directors, along with Dominique Simone, founded alignED New Orleans in response to the growing realization that local parents face steep obstacles to involvement in their children’s education. In their experience directly serving schools and later working with the state department of education, they saw how constraints on parents’ time, attention, and resources limited their capacity to advocate. They believed that supporting parents as advocates would lead to much-needed change, and in August 2021, they established alignED New Orleans to begin that effort.

Our Team

We are working to build a team that is inclusive and representative of the New Orleans community and culture.

Dominique Simone’s passion for education was inherited. As a third generation educator, she follows in the footsteps of her grandmother and aunts, who laid the foundation for her fervor in education.

In her 20 years in the education sector, she has held positions at the school level, charter network level, and state administration level. Most recently, as the Executive Director of Communication and External Affairs at the Louisiana Department of Education, Dominique developed Baton Rouge’s first common application for the city’s charter schools, increasing educational opportunities and access for students across the city.

The roots of her career began in Los Angeles in 2004. Before charter schools were widely known, Dominique was a founding teacher at KIPP: Academy of Opportunity in South Central LA and served in a variety of roles. In 2009 she returned to New Orleans just as the education landscape in the city was changing. From there, she held leadership positions at The Louisiana Children’s Museum, FirstLine Schools and the Louisiana Department of Education.

In 2017 she was appointed to the position of Executive Director of External Affairs for the Louisiana Department of Education’s Recovery School District. In her role at the RSD, Dominique developed, implemented and oversaw ENROLLBR, a common application system for EBR’s Type 2 and Type 5 charter schools.

A native of New Orleans, Dominique attended Xavier Preparatory School, Xavier University, Clark Atlanta University and The University of New Orleans. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication and has over 20 years of experience in education and non-profit management.

With a professional background of 13 years in higher education administration, Gina brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role as Director of Programs and Special Projects.
Gina’s personal journey in education mirrors her commitment to making a difference. As a New Orleans native and an alumna of the city’s public education system, she understands the challenges and potential of the local educational environment. As a mother of two fostered through the New Orleans public schools, Gina’s personal experiences fuel her determination to ensure that every child receives a quality education.

Gina holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and a Master’s Degree in Education Administration, from the University of New Orleans. Beyond her professional and educational pursuits, Gina has a passion for service, community, and advocacy. She actively engages in initiatives that promote social justice and equity, making a difference in the lives of those around her. In her leisure time, Gina enjoys traveling and cherishing moments spent with her family and friends.

Kaila Sims-Austin, MSNPA is an operations and advocacy maven from New Orleans. She takes great pride in her roots and is a graduate of Lusher Charter School and Loyola University of New Orleans, where she earned a degree in Mass Communication. She recently earned a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University- Shreveport.

Kaila’s educational experiences played a significant role in shaping her passion for creating equitable experiences and serving as a role model for others. Kaila has demonstrated a strong commitment to making a positive impact. She has actively engaged in various organizations and institutions, leveraging her skills and expertise to contribute to the betterment of her community. Advocacy for the voiceless and the pursuit of equitable experiences for all are at the core of Kaila’s values. Through her work and service, she aims to amplify the voices of marginalized individuals and ensure that everyone has access to fair and inclusive opportunities.

Latoya Douglas is an advocate who embodies resilience, determination, and a deep commitment to education. From an early age, Latoya was instilled with the importance of using her voice, maintaining a positive outlook, and staying true to herself by her mother, grandmother, and aunt. Their wisdom continues to guide her path today.

Latoya’s educational journey began in the public schools of New Orleans. However, she experienced the unfortunate closure of all the schools she attended. Undeterred by these challenges, Latoya emerged with an unwavering dedication to advocating for high-quality education for all students. As a single mother of three children, Latoya is actively involved in their education and deeply engaged with their school community. She recognizes the transformative power of education and the critical role parents play in shaping their children’s academic success. Through her advocacy and active involvement, she is making a profound impact on the lives of New Orleans parents, ensuring they have the resources and opportunities necessary for success.

Dana Wade, a native of New Orleans, LA, is a remarkable advocate with a deep-rooted passion for education and a dedication to empowering parents in the pursuit of high-quality education for their children. As a proud mother of four wonderful children, Dana understands firsthand the importance of providing access to exceptional educational opportunities. She proudly graduated from McDonogh 35 Senior High School, a renowned institution known for its commitment to
academic excellence. Today, two of her children are enrolled at McDonogh 35 Senior High School, while another attends Andrew H. Wilson Charter School.

Dana currently serves as a board member on the Board of Directors of InspireNOLA Charter Schools. Dana’s commitment to educational excellence led her to partner with like-minded individuals to establish a nonprofit organization called “The Parent Advocators.” Dana works vigorously to empower parents to become effective advocates for their children’s educational needs. She strives to help create a system where every child has equal access to quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Janae Llopis, MS, MA, is a passionate advocate for mental health and wellness hailing from the vibrant city of New Orleans. With a strong foundation in assessment and academic accommodations within the school system, Janae has dedicated herself to nurturing the emotional and psychological well-being of children and adolescents.

Her impactful journey includes serving as the Lead Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) Specialist at Progressive Leadership Academy, an alternative high school dedicated to at-risk youth on Chicago’s Southside. There, she honed her expertise in guiding young minds toward resilience and growth.

Janae’s unwavering passion lies in fostering cultural competence and trauma-informed practices within interdisciplinary professionals, particularly when working with African American children and families. Her commitment to creating safe and inclusive spaces for these communities is at the core of her mission.

Currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Xavier University of Louisiana, Janae is poised to bring further depth to her advocacy work. She eagerly seeks to expand her network, strengthen community engagement, amplify parent voices, and educate her beloved New Orleans community about the importance of mental health and wellness.