‘I was elated,’ JP school board appoints first Latina board member

Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 10:36 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It’s been a whirlwind weekend for Jefferson Parish’s newest school board member. She also happens to be the board’s first Latina to sit on the dais.

“I was ready. I was ready to start working that day,” said Schnell.

Of 9 candidates, the board appointed Diane Schnell in a 7-1 vote. She says she didn’t realize she would be the board’s first Latina voice until she was in that board room.

“Of the 50,000 students enrolled more than 30% are of Latino descent so that makes it the second largest enrolled student population… if we can have that diverse panel, have an understanding of our population recognize our property population. I think that we can do a lot of wonderful things,” said Schnell.

Her appointment comes after the board’s first appointed businessman, Rafael Rafidi only asked him to resign days later after his divisive social media posts came to light.

While Schnell says she has a lot of learning to do, she already has dreams of what she’d like to accomplish.

“I was privileged to work in a school that had amazing facilities. And I think with after even after hurricane Ida, that I think we can modernize those facilities make them safer for the schools,” said Schnell.

Schnell says as a single mother, as a businesswoman, and as a former teacher, she hopes to be a supportive, and trustworthy voice for all students and families.

“I know that one of the gaps we know that the Latino community is not being represented but not now anymore. And I just want to be able to see our children succeed… I hope they’re inspired, that you know, they can do they can achieve anything they want, and not to be afraid to ask questions to come forward. You know, we want you to be powerful,” said Schnell.

Schnell says plans to run for the seat in November this year.

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