Karran Harper Royal

Candidate, Orleans Parish School Board, District 3

 Biographical Information

Personal: Lifelong New Orleanian, married for 28 years to Kenneth Royal, mother of two sons, Khristopher, a graduate of Eleanor McMain High School and NOCCA, and Kendrick, a Junior at Lusher Charter High School.

Warren Easton High School, graduated 1981

Advocate for disabled and challenged children in NOPS and RSD schools; education policy consultant.

Southern Poverty Law Center, New Orleans, LA., 2010-present

Consulting Advocate on Education Issues

  • Educate legislators on issues in education of concern to SPLC
  • Gather information by attending meeting of state and local bodies governing education in Louisiana
  • Assist parents in their advocacy efforts on education

Pyramid Community Parent Resource Center, New Orleans, LA, 2001 – Present

Assistant Director, 2001-present

  • Assist parents of children with learning disabilities and special needs to gain access to appropriate educational services
  • Train parents and families in Positive Behavior Supports

New Orleans Parent Organizing Network, New Orleans, LA 2007 – 2009

Training Coordinator/Organizer

  • Work with parents, teachers and administrators to improve parental engagement and boost their children’s academic performance

New Orleans Public Schools, 2000 – 2001

Special Education Parent Advocate Director

  • Trained 126 school site Parent Advocates in Special Education
  • Helped found Joseph Schwartz Alternative High School and select founding principal
  • Helped introduce National Network of Partnership Schools concept to NOPS
  • Developed New Orleans’ first Special Education Parent Teacher Association

State of Louisiana Office of Mental Health, Region I, 1999 – 2000

Parent Mentor

  • Assisted parents in navigating the Interagency Service Coordination Process
  • Conducted “Families as Allies” training for parents


As a parent advocate, I’ve served on local and statewide education committees, testified before the State Legislature and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), addressed national audiences and worked with neighborhood organizations to help bring great public schools to recovering areas post-Katrina.

Research on Reforms

Contributor, 2008-Present

  • Research effectiveness of school reforms and contribute to articles on the findings

Parents Across America (PAA)

Board Member, 2011-Present

  • Founding board member of national organization committed to bringing the voice of public school parents and common sense to local, state and national education debates.

Gentilly Civic Improvement Association,

Board Member, 2009-2010

  • Supported diverse Gentilly neighborhoods in their rebuilding efforts

Chair, Education Committee, 2007-2010

  • Helped neighborhood groups implement their plans for rebuilding schools in their neighborhoods
  • Represented Gentilly at education-related meetings in New Orleans

 Oak Park Civic Association,

Board Member, 2010-2011

Chair, Education Committee, 2007-2011

  • Successfully secured the Lake Area High School for the neighborhood
  • Worked with the community and Recovery School District to provide input into the design of the new Bienville School

Recovery School District Advisory Committee, Member 2006-2007

  • Participated in drafting the Recovery School District Legislatively Required Plan

Recovery School District “Tiger Team” Advisory Committee, 2006-2007

  • Appointed by State Supt. of Education Paul Pastorek to represent New Orleans Public School parents on team that developed a comprehensive plan for admission of students to charter schools

Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities (CHADD) of New Orleans

Coordinator, 1999-2005

  •    Conducted monthly support group meetings for family members
  • Successfully hosted Community Forum on Child Mental Health Focusing on ADHD
  • Served on CHADD National Board of Directors and served on CHADD National Public Policy Committee 

Louisiana State Office of Mental Health, Region 1

Regional Advisory Council 2001-2002

  • Participated  in the annual “Orange Day on Mental Health” awareness event at the Louisiana State Capitol and in a presentation on special needs children to Louisiana legislators
  • Participated in workgroups on Health/Mental Health, Education and Parents as Advocates


Volunteerism Inside Specific New Orleans Public Schools:

I cut my teeth on organizing for equitable education and strong schools by working closely with the schools my son attended.

Lake Area High School (aka Greater Gentilly High School), 2008-2010

Chair, Steering Committee

               New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Riverfront (NOCCA), New Orleans, LA, 2000 – 2003

Jazz Discipline Representative on the NOCCA Parent Council

Fannie C. Williams Middle School, New Orleans, LA. 1997-2000

Served on district-wide and statewide textbook committees and on school improvement team; 1st Vice President, Parent-Teacher Association; helped coordinate first school-wide fair; served on band booster club.

McDonogh #15 Creative Arts Magnet Elementary School, New Orleans, LA. 1992-1997

Helped found the school’s first Parent/Teacher/Community Organization, which raised funds to rebuild the school’s playground, and served as Vice President and Treasurer.

Presentations on Education:

Orleans Parish School Board:  “Working With Parents”, 2003;”Better Outcomes for Students Through Improved Regular and Special Education Services ; 2002; “Working With Parents” 2002;”School Safety and Discipline”, 2002;  “There Are No Disposable Children”, 1999; “Impact of IDEA 97 on Our Classrooms”, 1999;  Students with ADD/ADHD”, 1998; “Inclusion”, 1998.

Southern University: “ADHD”, 2000; “ADHD in School-Age Children”, 1999

Panels on Education:

U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs 2012

Essence Festival 2010

National Association of Black Journalists, Education Forum 2012

Education Workshops:

National Urban League of Greater New Orleans, PRIDE workshops, 2012

National Down Syndrome Society Conference, July 2003:“Cultural Diversity: Exploring Barriers to Effective Services for individuals with Down Syndrome”; “Cultural Diversity: Strategies for Successful Outreach”; and “Beyond Culture Barriers”.

Select Interviews on Education:

Education Week (2010), The New York Times (2010), “Perry’s Principles” on CNN (2010), Los Angeles Times (2010), National Public Radio (2010), The Times Picayune (2008), UTNE Reader (2007), The Nation (2007), “Learning Matters” with John Merrow (2009, 2010), WHYY Radio (2012). I have been interviewed on local radio station WBOK, WYLD and WTUL and am frequently quoted for education stories in The Times Picayune, The Louisiana Weekly and the New Orleans Tribune.

Select Awards:

Neighborhood Partnership Network Trumpet Award, Best Education Advocate


New Orleans Parent Organizing Network, Leadership Award, 2009

Center for Development and Learning, Every Child A Star Award, 2003


Before becoming involved in education in the 1990’s, I spent 10 years in retail sales and management.







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