Alexandra Boyd to Lead SLU's Public Charter School Partnerships
Saint Louis University’s School of Education is pleased to announce that Alexandra Boyd, Ph.D., joined the school as the executive director of public charter school partnerships in July.
Boyd's arrival will allow the School of Education to better support the public charter
schools that it sponsors and continue Saint Louis University’s role in sponsoring
public charter schools in Missouri.
“Through building relationships with the community, I aim to help when and wherever possible," Boyd said. "Frankly, I could not be more excited to support Missouri’s schools and scholars in this way.”
SLU has served as a charter school sponsor since the mid-2000s, focusing on the sponsorship of City Garden Montessori in St. Louis, along with two other St. Louis schools for a short period in the 2010s. Public charter schools are operated in the cities of Kansas City and St. Louis; they are publicly-funded, tuition-free schools open to all students in the cities regardless of neighborhood.
Beginning in spring 2022, SLU's work of overseeing the sponsored public charter schools shifted from the Office of the Provost to the School of Education. Also in the spring the School of Education formed partnerships with two new public charter schools: Académie Lafayette and Hope Leadership Academy, both in Kansas City. Académie Lafayette is a system of schools serving grades PK-12 with a focus on language immersion, while Hope Leadership Academy is a small elementary school serving students in a very underserved section of the city.
"The development of partnerships with schools serving students from historically marginalized areas is perfectly aligned with our Jesuit Catholic values and mission," said Dean of the School of Education Gary Ritter, Ph.D.
Boyd is a formally trained educator and researcher who is passionate about increasing high-quality educational opportunities and pathways to improve social mobility. Boyd grew up in a working-class family with high expectations for education and schooling and, with the support of her parents and the dedication of high-quality educators, excelled in her own education. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science and international studies from Rhodes College (Memphis, Tennessee), a master’s degree in teaching from Christian Brothers University (Memphis, Tennessee), and a doctoral degree in education policy from the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas).
Boyd started her career as a middle school teacher in the Shelby County School System at The Soulsville Charter School. When she sought to make a larger impact on education policy, she later joined the Arkansas Department of Education and quickly rose to leadership positions in both the charter and school performance units. Boyd also served as the first CEO of The ASK Academy, a STEM-focused, project-based-learning charter school in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. She holds a position on the governing board for Exalt Education, Inc. and participates in multiple service opportunities through her sorority.
In her new role at SLU, Boyd will serve as a liaison between SLU’s School of Education and the public charter schools sponsored by SLU. In partnering with non-traditional public schools, her goal is to assist school leaders so that they can support their staff and scholars. School personnel who are charged with caring for and educating children don't just need high quality and consistent support; they deserve it.
Ultimately, the plan is to build relationships with school leaders and provide as many schools as we can with the supports they need to fulfill their missions and visions with fidelity.”Alexandra Boyd, Ph.D.
Opportunities for Collaboration
Boyd's primary focus will be supporting the public charter schools that SLU sponsors—Académie Lafayette, Hope Leadership Academy, and City Garden Montessori—but she sees her role as one that supports education across the state. Many of the challenges found in one school will often be found in a school elsewhere. If SLU develops professional-development sessions to support our partner public charter schools, Boyd will also work to ensure that these sessions are made available to other school partners from all sectors.
For example, Académie Lafayette will have its first graduating class in a few short years, and the hope is that some of their graduates will attend SLU, and perhaps some will enroll in the teacher education program. Another area of collaboration that the school hopes to grow is that currently SLU’s speech pathology students serve scholars in need at City Garden Montessori. The School of Education would like to connect more schools to solutions through this type of collaboration across the state. These points of collaboration are important to leverage to ensure that the SLU community is doing all it can to support the students who need it most.
Boyd’s goals for supporting charter schools do not differ from her goals for supporting all schools in the region and state. Each district run school, private school, and charter school are all doing the hard and meaningful work of educating our scholars.