Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Crescent City Schools
Joined the Team in 2010
Kate Mehok is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Crescent City Schools. Kate has over 25 years of experience in education serving the needs of high-risk students in public schools. Kate received a BA in political science from Haverford College, where she was a four year starter on the college basketball team, and an EdM in Educational Leadership from Columbia University Teacher’s College. She began her teaching career as a corps member in Teach for America, and then moved to New Orleans to serve as the Dean of Faculty for the Summerbridge program at Isidore Newman school. At Summerbridge, Kate began her work on curriculum and instruction and learned the value of using well-crafted long-term plans to guide young teachers as they learned to teach. It was at Summerbridge where Kate first saw the inequities of education in New Orleans; there were few high-quality public school options for Summerbridge families, and few could afford private school tuition.
With school leadership in mind, Kate returned to the Northeast to attend graduate school at Columbia University Teacher’s College, where she spent two years examining the factors that go into creating great schools. Visiting and working in some of the most successful schools in New York City, Kate was able to refine her vision of high-performing schools and earned her EdM in Educational Leadership, receiving both her Principal’s and Superintendent’s License.
In 2003, Kate had the opportunity to put many of her theories to practice as the founding Assistant Principal for curriculum and instruction at KIPP STAR College Prep Charter School in Harlem. Working closely with a founding school leader, Kate set the vision for instruction, put practices and procedures in place to ensure that teachers were holding students to the highest expectations, and influenced every aspect of student learning. Over the next five years, Kate witnessed the amazing things that occur when a school fuses great systems around behavior management and school culture with great systems around teaching and learning. Kate led the early charge to use data to drive instructional decision-making, which led to KIPP STAR becoming a national model for strong academic planning and strong instructional delivery. During Kate’s 5-year tenure at KIPP STAR, the school was one of the highest performing schools in Harlem.
Kate’s journey back to New Orleans was inspired by the educational reforms taking shape in her former city. Since the fall of 2008 when she bought a house and moved her family back to the city, Kate has helped launch and support ten charter schools by providing direct support to new school leaders through her work at New Schools for New Orleans. This work confirmed Kate’s belief that strong systems around culture and instruction are the key to creating and maintaining a successful school.
In 2010 Kate Mehok co-founded Crescent CIty Schools with long time friend and colleague, Julie Lause. Together they have built Crescent City Schools into the preeminent organization for school turnaround with a focus on growing and supporting school leaders and executing systems. As CEO, Kate brings leadership, vision, and a commitment to raising student achievement in New Orleans public schools. She is especially interested in using her platform to work collaboratively with other school leaders in New Orleans to make systematic changes in the public sphere in New Orleans. When not working, she is busy raising her three children with her husband, Tim, coaching youth girls basketball, and trying to perfect her chocolate chip cookie recipe.