The Louisiana Federation for Children is a project of the American Federation for Children, dedicated to promoting educational choice by protecting, growing, and expanding scholarship programs for low and middle-income children.
Years before Louisiana’s post-Hurricane Katrina education reform movement and the establishment of the Louisiana Scholarship Program, a New Orleans businessman would ride through the public housing developments in the city. Ronald Briggs was convinced that at-risk, underserved kids were trapped, and the only way out was through education.
Briggs’ vision to help these children was further inspired by the late Rev. Harry Tompson, S.J., who opened The Good Shepherd Nativity Mission School in 2001. As a founding board member and now president of Good Shepherd Mission Network Inc., Briggs leads the school’s mission of educating low-income, urban youth in a setting where they can realize their fullest potential.
In 2008, Briggs joined a coalition of organizations to pass legislation that created the Student Scholarships for Education Excellence Program (now the Louisiana Scholarship Program) in New Orleans. Following the program’s statewide expansion in 2012, the Louisiana Scholarship Program now serves 7,000 students.
Edward “Eddie” L. Rispone, a 1972 LSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Technology, co-founder and Chairman of ISC Constructors, LLC, which specializes in electrical and instrumentation engineering and construction. ISC predominantly performs work for industrial owners throughout the Gulf Coast, with its home office in Baton Rouge, La, and branch offices in Lake Charles, LA, Houston and Beaumont, Texas. ISC began in 1989 and today employs approximately 2,500 people with annual revenues of approximately $320 million.
Eddie has served Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), on a local, state, and national level, and was named the 2003 National Chairman for ABC, an association with 79 chapters and over 25,000 members. He became involved with Construction User Round Table (CURT), a national and international forum for the exchange of information, views, practices and policies of construction users from an array of industries, in 2004 as the ABC representative. ISC joined CURT as an associate member in 2011. In 2012, Eddie was nominated to join and became a member of the National Academy of Construction.
ISC has an excellent reputation in the industry, both in terms of performance and safety. ISC has received the prestigious ABC National “Excellence in Construction” Award 18 times. ISC has also been awarded the CURT Workforce Development Award and the CURT Construction Industry Safety Award.
In 2009, Eddie was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to serve as Chairman of the Louisiana Workforce Investment Council. The Workforce Investment Council consists of members from public and private entities, industry associations, and labor organizations, who have come together to address the workforce needs in the state of Louisiana.
In 2011, Eddie accepted the role as Chairman of the Louisiana Federation for Children, a project of the American Federation for Children. The main purpose of the American Federation for Children is to reform publicly-funded education, so all children will have an opportunity for a quality education. Eddie and his wife, Linda, were the Executive Producers of a documentary film on education reform, called “The Experiment”, which follows the lives of five children in New Orleans through the 2009-2010 school year. The documentary film won “Best Louisiana Feature” at the 2011 New Orleans Film Festival.
Currently married to Linda Lemoine Rispone and previously married for 35 years to Phyllis Moberley, deceased. Between the two of them, they have 7 children and 20 grandchildren (9 grandsons and 11 granddaughters). Eddie has four adult children: Thad, Dena, Lauren, and Kevin, and eleven grandchildren. Linda has three adult children and nine grandchildren.
Monique Scott–Spaulding is a successful entrepreneur and education advocate who models the example set by her mother that all students can learn, education is the key to success, and travel is a wonderful way to expand our thoughts, perceptions, and experiences. The perspectives gained in travel shape our actions and allow critical reasoning to enhance our quality of life.
Scott–Spaulding is a Baton Rouge native who, after working for ten years as a hospital administrator, formed a Jani-King franchise in January 1998. She has consistently been one of Jani- King’s top franchisees, leading the Baton Rouge Region in sales for more than 15 years. As one of 110 regional franchise owners, she specializes in servicing educational, healthcare, and industrial facilities.
Scott–Spaulding works tirelessly to elevate her community. As a member of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) she meets regularly with industry and community leaders. She is a member of BRAC’s Legislative Committee, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, the Education and Workforce Committee, and BRAC’s FuturePAC Board. She has served as Chair of all of the committees leading business and industry to advocate for BRAC priorities. She is the small business representative serving on the Senate appointed Early Childhood Care and Education Commission.
As a member of Opera Louisiane’s Board of Directors, she is a supporter of the arts in education, which has helped more than 35,000 students experience opera productions through Opera Louisiane’s Young People’s Opera Program . In her role as Development Chair, Scott–Spaulding helped generate funds to fund the organization’s endowment. As Board President she is proud to have introduced opera to hundreds of high school students in the seven-parish region through the Carmen in the Community Initiative.
Scott–Spaulding has taken her mother’s advice to give back by lending her time, talent, and treasure in service to church and community organizations. She currently serves on the boards of Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, BASIS Baton Rouge Charter School, Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School, Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System, Junior League of Baton Rouge, Opera Louisiane, Teach For America-South Louisiana, and TruFund Financial Services.
As an active member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, Scott-Spaulding is a member of the Pastoral Council. She has served as an adult leader of the Diocese of Baton Rouge Youth Board and as a member of the Diocesan Office of Black Catholics Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Diocesan Racial Harmony Commission. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling abroad, mentoring youth, listening to music, shopping, swimming, and spending time with family.
Family is very important to Scott-Spaulding. Although she and her late husband did not have children of their own, she is actively involved in the lives of her godchildren and she became guardian to her teenage sister upon the death of their mother. Her sister is now an adult living in Baton Rouge.
Ann Davis Duplessis is President of the Louisiana Federation for Children, a project of the American Federation for Children, where she partners with local and national policy leaders and lawmakers to promote and protect access to educational choice options, including the overwhelmingly popular Louisiana Scholarship Program.
Duplessis has more than 35 years in the financial services industry. Currently, she is Senior Vice President of Retail Banking, Marketing & Sales, and Strategic Planning for Liberty Bank and Trust Company. Liberty Bank is a $600+ million retail bank with offices in eight states. Duplessis also oversees the growth and profitability of Liberty Insurance, Inc., a subsidy of Liberty Bank and Trust.
In 2004 Duplessis was elected to the Louisiana Legislature as Senator for District 2, serving New Orleans East, Holy Cross, and the Lower Ninth Ward communities. During her time in office, while serving on the Senate Education Committee, Senator Duplessis fought successfully to expand educational options for Louisiana’s children by authoring and supporting numerous pieces of school choice legislation. Following Hurricane Katrina, Duplessis authored a bill which allowed the state to take over the majority of schools in Orleans Parish, which led to the thriving charter school movement in New Orleans. She also led the effort in the Louisiana Senate to pass HB 1347, that created the Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program in New Orleans in 2008. Duplessis was instrumental in passing 57 major laws focused on education reform, early childhood K-12 education, pro-business initiatives, economic development and more.
Duplessis is an unwavering public servant, who currently serves on the board of the American Federation for Children, the Eastern New Orleans Hospital Service District, New Orleans Shelter for Women and Children, the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, and Delgado Foundation Board of Trustees. Previously, she served on the Board of Trustees for Louisiana State University and held the distinction of Chairman of the Board in 2013.
A devoted wife, mother and grandmother, she has been married to Virgil Duplessis for 34 years. They have three beautiful daughters, Brooks, Lindsey and Heather; and four perfect granddaughters, Camille, Sydney, Brooklyn, and Maleia.
Kelli Bottger brings a wealth of legislative and educational leadership experience to the educational choice movement in Louisiana.
As the American Federation for Children’s Regional Government Affairs Director, Bottger works closely with state legislators, community leaders and educators to ensure children from low-income families in Louisiana have access to a quality education.
Prior to joining LFC, Bottger served as government affairs and communications director for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana (A+PEL), where she worked hand-in-hand with legislators, educators, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) members, community leaders and various elected officials to empower teachers and provide leadership opportunities for educators across Louisiana.
Bottger was instrumental in creating, funding and implementing STAND for Children and A+PEL’s Instructional All-Stars Program, which provided powerful training and development for dozens of Louisiana’s top educators.
During her nearly seven years in the classroom, Bottger specialized in teaching fourth grade math and science in Ascension Parish, where she also held numerous leadership roles, including acting as a mentor teacher and event organizer. Additionally, Bottger worked tirelessly on numerous committees to help improve textbook, technology, assessment and student conduct policies.
A veteran communicator, Paul Dauphin leads LFC’s communications activity in the state of Louisiana.
Previously, as president of Pierre Principle Communications, Dauphin directed messaging for the University of New Orleans’ College of Education and Human Development, when it became the first charter school management organization in Louisiana to assume control of a failing public school in 2004.
Dauphin also worked with numerous New Orleans charter schools and charter management organizations during a period of dramatic reform and growth following Hurricane Katrina.
Dauphin also served as communications director of the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans, where he was responsible for internal and external communications, publications and community relations. In 2010, Dauphin was a communications consultant for Mitch Landrieu’s mayoral campaign in New Orleans.
As Louisiana Grassroots Coordinator, Tiffany Crawford leads the Louisiana Federation for Children’s community outreach activities in the New Orleans area. She is responsible for building relationships and promoting awareness of educational choice options with parents, students, schools and other stakeholders.
Crawford brings extensive experience and understanding of parent and community organizations. As president of the District 2 Community Enhancement Corporation, she partnered with public and private agencies on projects to improve the quality of life in Eastern New Orleans and the Lower Ninth Ward.
Crawford served as vice president of operations for the New Orleans Regional Business Park where she led the creation of the park’s association of merchants. She was also fiscal manager in the City of New Orleans Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.
Amy Echols is the Director of Government Affairs and Implementation in Louisiana for the American Federation for Children.
After receiving her degree in Political Science and Economics from Loyola University New Orleans, Louisiana, Amy started her career as a college recruiter speaking in front of groups from 5-500. From there she spent 16 years in the fundraising and development arena within Louisiana and in the southeast region of the United States. At Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, Amy was the special events director and later moved to be the Development Director at Ochsner Baton Rouge.
Amy served as the American Cancer Society’s Executive Director in Baton and then as Regional Special Events Director over six states. In 2012, Amy joined the jewelry industry as the Training Specialist at Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry. Having no jewelry experience, she immersed herself in the industry and earned her Registered Jewelry diploma.
Amy currently resides in Baton Rouge with her husband, Jeff, and son, Trey.
Education Organizations in Louisiana
The Louisiana Federation for Children is pleased to work with the following organizations that promote education reform: