Celena works with K12 education leaders to develop strategy and implement initiatives that cross areas of focus, including educator preparation, talent systems and practices, strong instruction, and supportive environments. She works on the Outstanding Educators team and is committed to the work of ensuring every child gets the education and opportunities they deserve. Celena has worked alongside foundations, nonprofits, IHEs, state and local education agencies, including the Council of Chief State School Officers, New Schools for New Orleans, New Orleans Public Schools, the Arkansas Department of Education and the Walton Foundation.
Prior to joining Education First, Celena was a Partner at TNTP leading work in Louisiana and Arkansas. Celena led two teacher training programs and TNTP’s engagement in the New Orleans SEED collaborative. This unique partnership between a local HBCU, nonprofits and IHEs successfully mapped a model for shared practice within a community to improve recruitment, development and retention of diverse educators. She also managed a multi-year project with New Schools for New Orleans and six LEAs to support the development of performance-based compensation systems and career pathways for educators. Celena provides support to the Arkansas Department of Education in service of the state’s instructional materials strategy and Educator Effectiveness initiatives, recently seeding the launch of a new job-embedded degree and licensure pathway for aspiring teachers in Arkansas.
As a first-generation college student, Celena has focused her career on supporting students. She entered education as a community liaison, teaching in after-school programs for the Baltimore Museum of Art in partnership with Baltimore City Schools. Following that, she worked in higher education leading recruitment and admissions. Celena holds a bachelor’s degree in art and community arts education from the Maryland Institute College of Art and she completed graduate coursework in business management and marketing at the University of Baltimore. She lives in New Orleans, LA with her husband and daughter. Outside of work you can find Celena designing family costumes for a local parade, hosting a dinner party or relaxing beachside with a book.
- Educator Preparation, Strategic Hiring & Retention
- Educator Evaluation, Development & Support
- Strategy Development and Implementation Support
- Educator & Stakeholder Engagement
- Communities of Practice & Working Groups
- Arkansas Department of Education
- Council of Chief School State Officers
- New Schools for New Orleans
Top 3 Places Traveled
- Costa Rica
Celena’s family at kindergarten graduation
A memory from our last trip to visit family in Thailand