Dr. James Meza, Jr.
Jefferson Parish Public School System
James Meza’s experience in education crosses leadership positions both at the K-12 and Higher Education level. Dr. Meza served as Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of New Orleans for more than 11 years. As Dean and Professor of Educational Leadership, Dr. Meza served as chief academic officer for the college, as well as overseeing administrative services for more than 2,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, master’s and doctorate programs. During his 20-year tenure at UNO, he secured more than $50 million to study education reform in serving children and families in the New Orleans metropolitan area and nationwide. The LSU System has awarded Meza the title Dean Emeritus.
Dean Meza is a leader in Louisiana’s charter school reform movement. He is recognized nationally for enhancing charter schools in Louisiana and launching the state’s first Type 5 charter school. His work redefined the role of universities by assuming responsibility for the academic outcomes of kindergarten through twelfth grade students in public schools. His efforts were recognized by City Business by presenting him "Innovator of the Year" award.
Dr. Meza has served as the executive director of the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), the chief policy-making body for PK-12 education in Louisiana. He served as the Interim State Superintendent of Education for the State of Louisiana and restructured the Louisiana Department of Education as the State Superintendent changed from an elected position to a position appointed by BESE. During his time at BESE he also spearheaded the restructure of Louisiana's post-secondary Vocational Education System. His work at the state level was instrumental in developing early accountability measures for students in Louisiana. He has worked closely with the legislature and two governors in implementing education reform throughout our state.
At the national level, Dr. Meza was the founding chair of the National Policy Board for the Accelerated Schools founded at Stanford University, California. He has conducted research nationally on comprehensive school reform in urban settings. He was a major consultant to the Memphis City School District as Memphis launched it citywide Comprehensive Educational Reform Initiative. The results of Dr. Meza’s work in schools have been presented at both national and international meetings. This experience became the major theme of more than 40 refereed journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Meza has conducted workshops and lectures on educational reform both at the state and national level.
Dr. Meza has a doctorate in Education Administration from the University of New Orleans, a Masters in Education from Nicholls State University and a Bachelors in Business Administration from Loyola University.
He retired from the Louisiana Army National Guard at the rank of Colonel.