By Paul Dauphin
Shepherd is defined as a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people. As president/principal of Good Shepherd School in New Orleans, Thomas Moran, Jr. can be viewed in such a role.
“We take students from where they were, and bring them along to realize all of their innate abilities. They leave here confident, knowing that they are successful and can be successful,” said Moran.
Good Shepherd School opened in 2001. The school’s founder, the late Rev. Harry Tompson, S.J., envisioned a school that would provide New Orleans’ poorest children with the best education possible.
When Hurricane Katrina closed the school in 2005, Good Shepherd and New Orleans’ entire education system had to rebuild from scratch. The school’s leadership saw the newly conceived Student Scholarships for Education Excellence Program (now the Louisiana Scholarship Program) as a way to serve more students.
Moran, who is in his first year at Good Shepherd, says the state funded tuition assistance students receive from Louisiana Scholarship Program is a perfect complement to Good Shepherd’s mission.
“We’re going to make sure that every opportunity exists for our students. Knowing that they are going to become the next generation of productive leaders and difference makers,” he said.
“Otherwise, that’s a student and family that is trapped in a failing system, in a failing situation. And that’s just not right. That is something that anyone who is in education, anyone who is in leadership can’t tolerate,” Moran added.
Moran is very excited about Good Shepherd’s next chapter. The school has outgrown its current home in downtown New Orleans and announced it will soon begin construction of a new home in the Gentilly neighborhood.
He said the new location will bring the school closer to the community it serves. Approximately 40 percent of Good Shepherd’s students reside in Gentilly and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The new 40,000-square-foot building will be more than twice the size of the current facility and will accommodate more than twice as many students, including two new pre-kindergarten classes.
“Our mission calls us to bring the face of Jesus to every street corner where there is a need,” Moran said. “This literally brings the mission to where the people are.”
October is National Principal’s Month and throughout the month, AFC will share stories from principals of choice schools across the country to celebrate their accomplishments and the accomplishments of principals nationwide.