GNO Collaborative Teachers

Benjamin Franklin High School Announces New Principal

Date: May 8th, 2024
Benjamin Franklin High School

NEW ORLEANS (April 29, 2024) – Benjamin Franklin High School is thrilled to announce that Dr. Kendall McManus-Thomas, affectionately known as Dr. Mac, will be the next school principal of Benjamin Franklin High School at the Katherine Johnson Campus. 

“After an extensive hiring process in which we evaluated over 50 applicants, I have no doubt that Dr. McManus-Thomas is the right leader for our special school,” said BFHS CEO Alex Jarrell.

Dr. McManus-Thomas earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry education and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Xavier University of Louisiana and earned his doctorate in executive leadership from the University of Holy Cross, where he was awarded Dissertation of the Year. He has continued to publish and present research on virtual professional learning, academic supports, diversity, and mentorship. 

Dr. McManus-Thomas has spent his entire career in education, beginning as a chemistry teacher and track coach. He was Teacher of the Year at Warren Easton and eventually was promoted to Executive Director of Academics, where he led the academic vision of the OneApp’s most in-demand high school in New Orleans. Most recently, he has been the school principal at Andrew Wilson with InspireNOLA Charter Schools. 

A lifelong New Orleanian (he would’ve been a 2007 graduate of Warren Easton if not for Hurricane Katrina), Dr. McManus-Thomas is an avid Saints fan who loves cooking and watching basketball and can’t leave Jazz Fest without eating a Vaucresson hot sausage po’ boy, Crawfish Monica, at least one mango freeze, and a soft-shell crab po’ boy.

In his initial interview, Dr. McManus-Thomas impressed our hiring committee with his vision, rapport with students, work ethic, and follow-through. His passion for our school and his understanding of its importance to the New Orleans community immediately stood out. 

Students who had the chance to meet with Dr. McManus-Thomas described him as collaborative, innovative, and deeply committed to Franklin’s legacy of excellence. Faculty and staff highlighted his experience, contagious energy, empathy, and creativity.  


Dr. McManus-Thomas said he is “immensely excited to join the vibrant Franklin community with its rich legacy and infinite future.” He adds: “With the partnership of the amazing student body and extraordinary faculty and staff, I am thrilled to lead us forward. I look forward to immersing myself into the community and meeting the students, families, teachers, staff, board members, and alumni.”

Dr. McManus-Thomas will officially start on June 1. 

“His experience and values will help us move forward and win on three key strategic questions our community faces,” said Jarrell. “First, how will we continue to guarantee that our academic program is rigorous and competitive with the top schools across the country? Second, how will we ensure that students have a rewarding high school experience that is fun and supportive? Third, how do we continue to recruit and retain an exceptional diverse faculty that represents our student body? I’m grateful that Dr. McManus-Thomas is joining our community, and I’m confident that with his leadership, and in conjunction with our incredible faculty, staff, students, families, alumni, and board, we are going to guarantee that Franklin remains the premier public high school in the city.”

For more information, please contact Eve Peyton at (504) 503-0062 or  epeyton@bfhsla.org.
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