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Charter school system under investigation names new CEO

"He is a leader of deep integrity who will ensure our students have the schools they deserve.”

NEW ORLEANS — A beleaguered New Orleans charter school board named a new CEO as investigations continue into grade-fixing and misconduct by the former CEO.

New Beginnings Schools Foundation named former St. John the Baptist Parish Schools Superintendent Kevin George as its new CEO, filling the vacancy left by Michelle Blouin-Williams’ resignation.

Blouin-Williams resigned as an outside law firm investigated allegations from a WWL-TV report in March that Blouin-Williams falsified public board records to justify a million-dollar school bus contract with a firm that turned out to be operating buses with fraudulent insurance.

RELATED: WWL-TV Exclusive: Records, sources say charter school falsified board minutes on bus contract

Shortly after WWL-TV questioned Blouin-Williams, New Beginnings board placed her on paid leave. About a month later, she resigned.

The outside law firm hired by the New Beginnings board has also been investigating claims that the leadership at Kennedy High, one of three schools in the New Beginnings charter network, inflated students’ failing grades to falsely improve the school’s performance scores. That story was first reported in March by the investigative news website The Lens. Five top officials at Kennedy lost their jobs last month as a result of the investigation, including the principal, but the specific findings of wrongdoing have not been released.

RELATED: Kennedy High principal, leadership out over grade-fixing scandal

New Beginnings board Chairman Raphael Gang announced the hiring of George on Saturday.

“Kevin Ray George has spent his career working to lift up students who face the toughest odds -- and he has done nearly every job in a school system,” Gang said. “But more than that, he is a leader of deep integrity who will ensure our students have the schools they deserve.”

RELATED: WWL's 'Toxic Truth' spurs St. John School Board to change tune on chloroprene

When WWL-TV exposed the high levels of toxic air recorded at two St. John the Baptist public schools near a chemical plant, George was one of the first local government officials to demand a reduction in emissions.

Gang also told WWL-TV that New Beginnings continues to work with students whose grades or graduation records were affected by the alleged grade-inflation.

Gang promised families of students whose diplomas were affected an update on their status no later than June 14.

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