Local Education Professional Named to Lead Academic Distinction Fund


BATON ROUGE, La. (October 19, 2010) – Academic Distinction Fund, a major collaborator among schools, businesses, and the East Baton Rouge community, and a vehicle for private sector leadership in advancing public education, announced today that Martis Jones, Ph.D. is the organization’s new executive director. Her major duties will include leading the organization through a change in focus toward high-quality pre-K education in East Baton Rouge Parish. Jones’ hiring comes at the end of a three-month search process.

 Dr. Jones has been active and successful in public education efforts for over fifteen years. She earned her doctoral degree in the nationally recognized Curriculum Leadership Program at Vanderbilt University. She also served on numerous boards and committees advancing high-quality early childhood education including the Nurse-Family Partnership Coalition, Harlem Children’s Zone Collaboration, Louisiana’s Child Poverty Prevention Council and the LSU Poverty Summit.

 “We are delighted that Dr. Jones is on board and are confident that she will have a lasting impact on education in East Baton Rouge Parish,” said Jamey Firnberg, ADF Board Chairman. “Jones’ tenure begins at the perfect time, as our organization refocuses its efforts in the area of pre-K education in the parish.”

 Jones’ first task is to complete a 90-day assessment of the pre-K environment in East Baton Rouge Parish. Building on this assessment, ADF will issue a community report on building a stronger pre-K education system across the parish. According to Firnberg, Jones has already held numerous meetings in the education community and has begun to identify strategic goals and actions for ADF.

 Jones says she is dedicated to making every child in East Baton Rouge Parish ready to learn by kindergarten and first grade. She sees ADF as the force to create strategic partnerships in the private sector and among area universities to give children the start they deserve in order to be successful in their public-school education experiences.

 About Academic Distinction Fund   

Founded in 1989, ADF is a major collaborator among schools, businesses, and the community and acts as a vehicle for private sector leadership in advancing public education. An active, 18-member board comprised of representatives from business, education, and industry guides the Academic Distinction Fund in long-term planning and accountability. Today, the ADF endowment stands at $4.1 million and is permanently managed by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Since 1991, ADF has received close to 4,000 grant applications to improve public school instruction and has funded 1,600 grants to East Baton Rouge Parish public schools, totaling almost $2.5 million. These grants cover investments in creative and innovative teaching and learning strategies in the classroom, resource materials for students, teacher collaboration, professional development and coaching to increase students’ academic achievement and improve retention rates for new teachers. Annually, over 20,000 students in pre-K and grades K-12 in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools directly benefit from the ongoing ADF investments in high-quality public education.


The Louisiana Economic Summit on Early Childhood Investment

Learn how investing in early childhood is a primary concern for economic development, workforce development, national security, and how experiences in early childhood can literally change the developing architecture of the brain.

Featured Speakers Include:

• J. B. Pritzker, Business Leader, Venture Capitalist and Philanthropist
• Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, Mission Readiness
• Art Rolnick, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
• Dr. Charles Zeanah, Vice-Chair, Tulane University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Hilton New Orleans - St. Charles Ave.
333 St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans, LA  70130

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
8:00 - 8:30 - Breakfast and Registration
8:30 - 10:30 - Featured Speakers
10:45 - 11:45 - Follow-up Presentations

For more information or to register for the summit, visit 


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