Shanda Gentry is the PreK-4 Director of Curriculum and Instruction (DCI) at Paul Habans Charter School. A graduate of the University of New Orleans, Gentry has been with Habans since it joined the Crescent City Schools network in 2013.
Gentry always knew she wanted to be an educator, even as a young child she looked up to those working in education. “I remember playing school with my siblings and always wanting to be the teacher. I am drawn to education; it is my opportunity to pay it forward,” she said. She also attributes her love of education to those who educated her. “I was fortunate to have great teachers throughout my life; they were the ones who showed me the importance of being an inspiring educator.”
As the PreK-4 DCI, Gentry is responsible for a team of over 20 teachers. Gentry said the ability to see her staff and students develop throughout the year is what motivates her the most. “I love watching children grow socially, emotionally, and academically. When I see they are starting to make the connections, I know that is a huge gain for the student and the teacher.” Gentry believes that growth is one of the most important things in a classroom. “I know when I see growth in my teachers, I am seeing growth in myself,” she said. “I have learned so much as a certified Real Time Coach. I am able to give immediate feedback to teachers while in the classroom; this has resulted in not only teacher improvement but also student achievement,” she said. “This is the moment that reminds me that teaching is not just my job; it is my passion.”