Timeline of Events
Meeting on July 12, 2018 (Clark Cafeteria)
FirstLine Schools, the Charter Management Operator (CMO) running our alma-mater, now named Joseph S. Clark Preparatory High School, shared the news that the CMO would open Clark, for the 2019 - 2020 school year, as a satellite Career and Technical Center. The location would be the old McDonough No. 35 school building at 1331 Kerlerec Street. The new Career and Technical Center would not be traditional in the sense that: it would not offer any extra-curricular activities, it would not be the home school of any student, and any student in Orleans Parish schools who applied and was accepted to the program could attend. FirstLine Schools could not guarantee that the new Career and Technical Center would carry the name, Joseph S. Clark.
Meeting on July 18, 2018 (Tremé Center)
After hearing about Firstline Schools' plans, concerned alumni members called this meeting to decide how we would move forward and how we would address the news about Clark's future. Four alumni members were chosen to present to OPSB: 1) a petition of more than 1,000 signatures to stop the closing of Clark, 2) the history of Clark, 3) a personal testimony of Clark being a factor in an alumnus' success, and 4) notice that we were planning to start a charter with alumni control and that we did not want them to use Joseph S. Clark for their new Career and Technical Center. The agreement in the group was that we wanted to protect the legacy of Clark through the name.
In between these meetings: An additional change.org petition was created. The data from the petition was used to develop a robust alumni database. The names were added to the paper petitions that circulated at the picnic and meetings.
Meeting on July 19, 2018 (Orleans Parish School Building)
The morning of Thursday, July 19, WDSU (channel 6) ran a story that Clark alumni would be coming to OPSB to protest the closing of Clark. The OPSB administrator got wind that we would be showing up, and assured us that we would be heard at the meeting. As planned, the four alumni presented, plus four additional alumni were able to appeal to the school board president and members. WDSU showed up and interviewed an alumnus for their evening news. At the end of the meeting, alumni members were able to speak with our OPSB district representative, Nolan Marshall. A meeting was set for July 26 with Nolan Marshall.
Meeting on July 24, 2018 (Office of Bernard Law Firm)
The goal of this meeting was to gather a steering committee to invigorate a fractured alumni body and to start the work on a set of new by-laws. Derrick Hemphill presented to the group with a new by-laws template that met all of the requirements to file them as a part of a non-profit organization, which was a part of our new strategy. As a non-profit, organizations can apply for grants and do other fundraising activities. Alana Jones also presented the group with the last by-laws on record. Four alumni members were given the task to review the by-laws, merge the two sets of by-laws, and make recommendations for the by-laws. In attendance were the current alumni board members and select alumni with education experience, and from various classes, i.e., former school board president Gail Glapion and Lyndia Green-Faust from the class of 1959. An agenda item of this meeting was to set dates for nominations and the election of new officers. Another agenda item referred to how we would approach chartering a new Clark, and discussing those ideas in the meeting with Nolan Marshall. Since the date for the alumni group to petition for our own charter had passed the previous Monday, July 23, 2018, we needed to come up with a new approach and strategy. One idea was that we would approach Nolan Marshall about the idea of going under the School Prospectus, which states that it is a process "for individuals and organizations with a promising school model or concept, but who may require additional time and/or desire expert feedback on their school plans prior to developing a full charter application for formal evaluation." The School Prospectus was read to the body of the meeting, and it was Gail Glapion that said, "this sounds like something we should find out more about and possibly go under." There was no deadline for this approach, and it would force OPSB to nurture our alumni group, using their resources. It looked to be a win-win. In this meeting, unfortunately, the nomination dates and election dates were not set and would be tabled to the next meeting on August 2, 2018.
Meeting on July 26, 2018 (the home of Nolan Marshall)
Three alumni members (Cynthia Bernard, Vanetta Jones, Derrick Hemphill) met with Nolan Marshall. As our district representative, he wanted to gauge our motivation for trying to save Clark, how organized we were, and our ideas for a school. He mentioned that many had tried before us and emphasized that we would need to become a fraternal organization that is well organized. He shared with the alumni present the three ways in which he had worked with Clark in the past: 1) as a donor, 2) as a board member for the 'Friends of Clark' in the mid-1980's (he mentioned that FoC raised around $16,000), and 3) as Clark's district representative. The School Prospectus was presented to him, and he seemed optimistic that it would be a viable option.
Meeting on August 2, 2018 (Norman Mayer Library)
The by-laws were reviewed by the entire alumni body and there were no issues found at that time. The body voted to make alumni dues $35 and to make the life membership alumni dues $350. Since the prior alumni organization had not been active for several years, it was stated that dues would not be collected before the vote, but once the Board of Directors has been elected. The meeting date to finalize the by-laws was set for Tuesday, August 21, 2018, at 5:30 (3001 Gentilly Blvd.). The meeting date for nominations was set for Thursday, August 30, 2018 (details TBD). The election date was set for Wednesday, September 26, 2018 (TBD). It was also voted upon to name the alumni organization 'Dr. Joseph Samuel Clark High School Alumni Association' to align with the future name of the school. The vote was in favor of changing the name (42 for, 29 opposed, one abstained). There was a discussion that the name of the school and the alumni needed to match. As it stands, there is a now defunct 501(c)3 organization with the name 'JS Clark Alumni of Opelousas, LA.' There are no Louisiana non-profits on file with a name similar to JS Clark. An alumnus agreed to pay for the filing of the 501(c)3. There was a discussion about an alumni website being created. An email address was established to communicate with alumni; it is firstname.lastname@example.org. A nomination committee was formed to draft qualification for board members. Copies of the requirements of all board openings will be emailed or mailed to alumni members. Alumni members will be given information on how to cast their vote.
Meeting on August 21, 2018 (Norman Mayer Library)
There was a discussion about the new website. There were multiple domains purchased, and there was some discrepancy as to who was supposed to build the site. Derrick Hemphill presented to the body that a website had already been built (jsclarkalumni.org). Members wanted to see ‘Dr.” added to the name of “Joseph S. Clark Alumni Association.” (“Dr.” was subsequently added to the website). It was agreed that Damian Woods and Derrick Hemphill would work together to continue to update and improve the site. Shawna Gable shared with the group that she opened a P.O. Box at UNO’s post office (Dr. Joseph S. Clark, Alumni Association, P.O. Box 1036, New Orleans, LA 70148). Lois Jones presented the revised by-laws to the members present. There was a discussion about nominations. Jacqueline Remble-Wilmore and Cynthia Bernard introduced the qualifications for board members, duties for board members, and a list of possible board member positions. The entire ‘nomination rules’ should be added into the by-laws, it was not originally included. Section III.3 should now read that a member can self-nominate or be nominated by another member. There was a discussion about term limits for board members. John Bagneris mentioned that we needed continuity to maintain institutional knowledge. He used the state legislature as an example, mentioning that they were losing 40 legislators at one time and that could have a negative impact on the state’s business. Cynthia Bernard brought up the idea of staggered terms. Conrad Cheneau mentioned that if board members were handling their business, they should be re-elected to continue the business of the alumni association. He opposed staggered terms. There was agreement on 2-year terms for board members. The members present decided that the alumni body, not the board would elect board members. It was also agreed that voting would be done in-person only. Sabrina Mays-Montana mentioned that she would contact Greg Vigne, a Clark alumnus, to announce nominations and elections on his radio show on 106.7 FM. Yvette Gremillion mentioned announcing FM 98’s community board. Derrick and Damian would work on the media and press releases to get the word out about all dates concerning nomination and elections. It was also agreed that members could be voted out of the alumni association with a 2/3 vote by the body. The mission, vision, and motto were decided upon. The meeting to confirm the by-laws was set for Wednesday, September 12, 2018, tentatively at Tremé Center. The nominations and elections were delayed until after the by-laws confirmation.
Meeting on September 12, 2018 (Tremé Center)
Completed tasks from last meeting: the name on the website was changed to show the name ‘Dr. Joseph S. Clark Alumni Association, New Orleans, LA,’ and the new P.O. Box address was added to the website. There was a discussion about who could vote in the next election. Some members cautioned against impropriety in voting, stating that we needed to make sure non-alumni members would not enter in the meeting to vote. In order to assure that voting was fair, Sabrina Mays-Montana mentioned that she would go to OPSB to get class rosters, Mrs. Beamus mentioned that she would be at OPSB for a meeting the next Monday and would inquire about class rosters. It was decided to send out a message asking class leaders to send in class rosters if they have them. In an off topic comment, Mrs. Beamus told us how she would ask Alden McDonald, Fred Luter, and Michael Bruno for funds to support her classroom needs when she was a teacher, and that we should contact these three alumni for programming funds. Lois Jones and Sabrina Mays-Montana presented the agreed to changes to the by-laws, including changes to Section III.3, board member terms were listed at ‘2’ years, added wording to state that voting will be in person (1st election), added wording to state that by a 2/3 vote a person can be voted out of the association. There was a vote to adopt the new changes and to confirm the entire by-laws document. The by-laws were adopted by unanimous decision, dated September 12, 2018. Jacqueline Remble-Wilmore mentioned that the document titled ‘Steering Committee’ would be used to describe each job for the Board of Directors’ positions. The committee presented a ‘Nominee Information Form’ to be used for nominating a member to the Board of Directors. That form is to be Emailed to email@example.com. The Steering Committee/Nominations Committee will meet to determine how the voting process will work, and then present the process to the entire alumni body. The nominations date has been set for September 26, 2018 at Norman Mayer Library. The election date is set for October 24th at Norman Mayer Library. Derrick Hemphill will write a press release. Sabrina Mays-Montana previously mentioned she would contact Greg Lavigne at 106.7 to announce nominations and elections. Yvette Gremillion previously mentioned she would contact the FM98 Community Board to announce nominations and elections. Any alumnus with a media relationship can use the press release. Robert Stanley invite alumni member to the Tremé Center’s Night Out Against Crime on October 16, 2018, and that candidates might want to use this event as an opportunity to campaign.