Chief Academic Officer, Crescent City Schools
Joined the Team in 2011
Cynthia Costello is the Chief Academic Officer at Crescent City Schools. Cynthia originally joined the Crescent City Schools network in 2011 as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for grades K-4 at Harriet Tubman Charter School. As a founding member of Tubman, Cynthia expanded her role to include developing teachers on all aspects of the K-4 instructional model. She is also considered one of the leading thinkers on math in the New Orleans charter school community. She started her teaching career in 1999 as a Greater New Orleans Teach for America Corps member, assigned to teach 5th grade Special Education in LaPlace, LA. As a Corps Member, Cynthia raised the achievement level of her class to the 54th percentile on The Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the school’s highest overall class percentile rank. Cynthia then became a math teacher and, eventually, Math Department Chair at New Orleans Charter Middle School, New Orleans’ first charter school and the highest performing non-selective school in the city before the storm. After Hurricane Katrina, she relocated to Albuquerque, NM to serve as the Founding Dean of Students at High Tech High Albuquerque, a first year school in the nationally recognized High Tech High Learning Network. Cynthia returned to New Orleans one year later to re-open Summerbridge New Orleans at Isidore Newman School, serving as the program’s Assistant Director. In 2008, Cynthia resumed her work in the charter school movement as the Director of Math for Firstline Schools, where she developed a network-wide math curriculum that increased the School Achievement Index in math at Firstline’s first two network schools by 20%. Additionally, in a partnership between Firstline Schools and Xavier University, Cynthia served as the lead facilitator for the Xavier Math Fellows, a professional development program for 4th-8th grade math teachers designed to close the math achievement gap in the city. Cynthia received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and political science from Kenyon College in 1999.