Andre Perry is an education leader, author and advisor to people working to improve education in K-12 and post-secondary institutions.

In 2013, Dr. Andre Perry became the Founding Dean of Urban Education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Perry launched Davenport’s new College of Urban Education and created its Master of Urban Education Program. The innovative teacher-training program focuses on student learning, prepares content experts in clinical settings and measures progress based on data.

Prior to, he was the Associate Director for Educational Initiatives for the Loyola Institute for Quality and Equity in Education. Dr. Perry created academic and enrichment opportunities for Loyola University as well as for primary and secondary students in the metro area.

Before Loyola, he served as the CEO of the Capital One-University of New Orleans Charter Network, which was comprised of four charter schools in New Orleans. During that stint, Perry served on Mayor-Elect Mitch Landrieu’s Transition Team as the co-chair of the Education Taskforce.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Perry earned his Ph.D. in education policy and leadership from the University of Maryland College Park. His research and teaching interests are college access and retention, charter schools and immigrant educational rights. In 2011, UNO Press released his book, The Garden Path: The Miseducation of the City. Perry used non-fiction narrative to illustrate the real life tensions involved in post-Katrina education reform in New Orleans.

Perry’s scholarship focuses education reform and the impact of education policy on community wellness. Perry co-authored the chapter Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita published on Brookings Institution Press. He also co-authored the chapter Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance, and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform published on Harvard University Press. Along with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Perry co-authored the report, PLACE MATTERS for Health in Orleans Parish: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All.

As a public intellectual, he advocates for quality public education. Dr. Perry is a columnist for the Washington Post-PostEverthing section and The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit news organization focused on producing in-depth education journalism. Perry’s views, opinions and educational leadership have been featured on NBC, National Public Radio, Al Jazeera America, The New Republic and CNN. Perry contributed to the CNN specials Race and Justice in America: Hidden Bias as well as Bullying: No Escape, both hosted by Anderson Cooper. He contributed to NBC’s Education Nation as a featured panelist. He has also been a guest on Roland Martin’s Washington Watch on TVOne, Jane Velez-Mitchell on HLN as well as numerous appearances on CBS, Fox and NBC affiliates.

For almost a decade, he penned a newspaper column in The Louisiana Weekly. The column provided political commentary on municipal governments and K-16 leadership in Louisiana. During the same period, Perry provided commentary for the NPR affiliate, WWNO 89.9-FM, during NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Perry has spoken at numerous national events including: The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, Essence Festival, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the National Urban League Annual Conference.

In 2008 he was selected as an Effective Leaders Fellow by Duke University’s Center for Leadership and Public Values. Fully immersed in the city’s recovery efforts, Perry served on the boards of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, WYES Public Television, WWNO-FM, and Young Audiences-Arts for Learning. His community-based efforts earned him accolades and acclaim. Andre Perry received the Kappa Alpha Psi Distinguished Citizen Award in 2011. He also received St. Charles Avenue Magazine’s 2008 Unsung Hero of the Year Award. New Orleans Magazine selected Dr. Perry as a “Person to Watch.” In 2009, Gambit Weekly named Perry to its “40 under 40”. In October of 2011, NBC Affiliate, WDSU Channel 6 aired the award winning documentary, “Close Ties: Tying on a New Tradition,” which features Dr. Perry and Wilbert “Chill” Wilson’s efforts to prevent criminal activity among at-risk youth. In 2012, Dr. Perry was named team lead for Orleans PLACE MATTERS, a national project of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.
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Select Publications (click to view)

School Reform

Perry, A.M. (2011). The Garden Path: The Miseducation of a City. New Orleans, LA: University of New Orleans Press.

Perry, A. (2011). “School by School: The Transformation of New Orleans Public Education. Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Anglin, R., Liu, A., Mizelle, R., Plyer, A. (Eds.) Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution Press.

J. Daschback, H. Levin, A. Perry (2010). “New Orleans as a Diverse Education Provider.” Between Public and Private: Politics Governance and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform. Bulkley, K., Henig, J., Levin, H. (Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Immigrant Educational Rights

Perry, A. (2006), “Towards a Theoretical Framework for Membership: The Case of Undocumented Immigrants and Financial Aid for Postsecondary Education,” The Review of Higher Education, 30(1).

Perry, A. (2006), “Substantive Members Should Receive Financial Aid.” Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 5(4).

Community Wellness

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (Perry served as Team Lead) (June, 2012). Place Matters for Health in Orleans Parish: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All. Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Washington, D.C.

Sellers, S., Perry, A., Sams-Abiodun, P., Plyer, A., Ortiz, E. (2012). Building an Inclusive High-Skilled Workforce for New Orleans’ Next Economy. New Orleans: Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.

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UNO Press is pleased to announce the official release of The Garden Path: The Miseducation of the City by noted educator, school leader and university administrator Andre Perry. Perry uses creative non-fiction to tell the story of an idealistic professor, Dr. Isaac Boyd, who quickly ascends to the forefront of the post-Katrina charter school movement–a movement deemed unsympathetic as it takes control of persistently failing schools from the hands of local community leaders. Tensions rise as out-of-town reformers and local community members compete for resources and authority. While adult battles reach a fever pitch, high school students Loren and Katura set their own paths to improve schooling for New Orleans.

What readers are saying about The Garden Path:

“As a roman a clef, “The Garden Path” is the perfect vehicle for real-talk observations about school reform that have startling parallels to D.C., New York, and many city school systems in the midst of radical change… Most pressing is this: what is the purpose of education? Is it to instigate thought—or to control? And does the answer change if the student is poor, black and lives in a city? Perry’s book clearly argues the answer is no. It blasts people on both sides of the debate who limit the life chances of the young people in their charge by treating them like prisoners.” – Natalie Hopkins, The Washington Post

The Garden Path provides a fascinating look into the school reform movement that swept New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The book raises important questions about the effects of standardized testing as well as the motives of various stakeholders in the school reform debate, and the creative format allows Perry to represent the pros and cons of several positions. The book also dramatizes a school election, and the many factors that affect the candidates’ campaigns, thereby creating telling parallels with real-world politics.” —Koritha Mitchell, The Ohio State University

“…a redemption story about a group of young people who navigate the difficulties of New Orleans schools, are helped and sometimes hindered by those who love them and care about them, and who must learn to function within a local culture that is rich but which also provides teens many paths to failure and few to success.”Kenneth Strike, Cornell University

“Perry’s skill in charting the ideals and goals of the reform movement against the hard realities of rebuilding a city that was ravaged even before Katrina, and his dissection of the class-, race-, and neighborhood-based struggles for control over a crippled system is as precise as it is respectful, aware of all perspectives yet beholden to none—none, that is, except the finest selves that students can become.”Benjamin Morris, Oxford American

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Close Ties: Tying on a New Tradition provides an intimate look at a rites of passage ceremony that connects teenage boys with male role models. The ceremony at this New Orleans barbershop was created by Dr. Andre Perry and Wilbert “Chill” Wilson as a way to strengthen communities struggling with crime, poverty and alarming high school drop out rates. Cultural traditions have been the cornerstone of African American communities for centuries. Close Ties, a documentary directed by filmmaker Gemal Woods, examines the impact of this new tradition and shows us how tying a necktie — an act associated with men who embody professionalism and prestige — can inspire high school boys to commit to a life of achievement and success.

Dr. Perry and barber “Chill” Wilson saw the need for a program in New Orleans and created the tie-tying ceremony as a solution to consistently low academic performance by Black male students. The statistics show that many of these boys never graduate from high school and of those that do, most do not obtain a college degree. In New Orleans, city leaders, policy experts and scholars are working together to find solutions that will reverse the statistics and help more Black males become college graduates and community leaders.

The youth participating in this tie-tying ceremony are boys selected from several schools in New Orleans. The aim of the event — to bring a rites of passage ceremony to the community that encourages self-actualization, college attendance and professionalism among urban males. During the event, the boys participate in a tie-tying demonstration, where role models from around the city instruct the youngsters on how to create distinguishing knots with their neckwear. Each of the boys also receives the opportunity to get professional grooming with a haircut and a shoe-shine. The final component of the event is one-on-one mentorship that each student receives from a male role model from the community. The ceremony, which celebrates the transition from boyhood to manhood, goes far beyond the intricacies of tie-tying by using the silk garment as a starting point for discussions on academic and professional achievement.

For these youngsters, learning how to tie a tie is not just about dressing well, it is about becoming a successful adult. And as they make the transition to adulthood, they each must decide what manhood means to them. For one student, manhood is about reaching a stage in life when you can make something of yourself. For another, it means keeping your word, taking care of your family, and putting others before yourself. And for another student, manhood is about fearing God.

The tie-tying ceremony is held in the barbershop because it is a special place where men can discuss freely and openly about what is going on in the community. A routine visit to the barbershop is just one of the many traditions that abound in New Orleans. Barbershops like “Chill’s”, are cultural epicenters that bring together men from all walks of life — the bus driver sits next to the attorney who sits next to the college student who sits next to the security guard — all with the goal of getting a fresh hair cut. And as with any tradition, one of the most crucial components is to pass on knowledge and history to the next generation.

According to Dr. Perry, “Teaching a boy how to tie a tie requires a closeness that is often the missing ingredient in transforming boys to men.” Mentorship and involvement in the boys’ lives makes tie-tying more than a ceremony. This rites of passage event is fostered and supported by a group of influential New Orleans residents who participate as mentors. They are lawyers, doctors, teachers, journalists and other Black professionals who take pride in giving back to the community. Close Ties documents the mentors and the youth during and after the ceremony, where we see the men encourage and support the boys’ academic and career endeavors. The development of these mentoring relationships creates a lasting impact, one felt by students, parents, teachers and the community as a whole.


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General Inquiries
Andre Perry, Ph.D.

Speaking Engagements and Public Appearances
Xina Eiland, Publicist
2600 S. 16th Street, Ste. 742
Arlington, Va 22204