Jarvis became a principal at Nicholson Elementary, another struggling public school, now closed, in a rough neighborhood near downtown Baton Rouge.
It was hardly the place where anyone would expect a middle-class suburbanite to send her
children, but that's exactly what Jarvis did, driving Kristen and Garrett past the crack house across from the school each morning.
"I've always wanted to be in inner-city schools.I felt I needed to be there to be a voice for children ... and it's helped my children learn they can get along in any environment," she
said of her
decision to expose her
children to the schoolhouse environment where she
was making her
stand as an administrator."The only way public education is ever going to be successful is for parents who are involved to keep their kids in those schools." Meanwhile, she had begun working on her doctorate in educational leadership and research at LSU.
After the Legislature voted in November to put 107 of 128 New Orleans public schools in the Recovery District, Jarvis
took over as superintendent, at an annual salary of $125,000.
does not plan to spend much time in her
office, but rather be in the schools as much as possible.Showing up at teacher training events like the one last week sets that tone, she
"I think they need to know that I'm out there, that I'm going to be in their schools and in their classrooms," she
Living away from home Jarvis
stays in different hotels around the French Quarter and the Central Business District during the week, returning to Baton Rouge for weekends with her
family, but Keith Jarvis
refused to call his
wife a workaholic - or at least not a hopeless workaholic."I have been known a couple of times to sit in the car outside of a restaurant and say, ‘We're not getting out of the car until you put your Blackberry down,' " he
said with a chuckle.
Whether Jarvis' tenure in charge of New Orleans schools proves longer than those of the many superintendents who have attempted to lead the troubled district in the past decade may hinge less on her
performance than on the political fortunes of Gov.
sees New Orleans as more than just another entry on an increasingly impressive résumé."I'm committed to staying as long as I'm needed," Jarvis