Young Audiences Charter School Names Principal and Vice-Principal for New High School

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Young Audiences of Louisiana CEO, Rickie Nutik, announced two appointments at Young Audiences Charter’s new High School: Principal Melissa Sallinger and Assistant Principal Toriano Hayward, Jr.

“We are thrilled to have this ‘Dream Team’ at our new high school and can’t wait to see the amazing things they will accomplish,” said Nutik. “Ms. Sallinger and Mr. Hayward have proven records of academic excellence, outstanding leadership and innovative ideas. We are lucky to have them.”

Young Audiences Charter High School will welcome its inaugural class of 9thgraders to its temporary location at theSalem Lutheran Campus, 418 4th St. in Gretna. Young Audiences Charter School also serves lower grades at its Kate Middleton Campus, 1407 Virgil St. in Gretna (Grades 2-7) and its Little YACS Campus (Kindergarten and 1stgrade) at 3600 6th St., Harvey.

In the Fall, Young Audiences Charter School will break ground on the historic renovation and construction of its state-of-the-art new middle and high school campus at 1000 Burmaster St., Gretna.Situated on more than 10 acres, the new high school campus will feature academic classrooms for grades 6 through 12, as well as a media center, science labs, and athletic spaces.As an exemplary arts integrated school, the campus will have an arts center featuring a 450-seat auditorium, as well as performing, visual, music, and dance classrooms.

About Melissa Sallinger

Melissa Sallinger comes to Young Audiences with 17 years of experience in education. She most recently served as Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction at West Jefferson High School. She is also a former high school math teacher, having taught Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Computer Literacy, and Financial Mathematics. She was named the 2018 Jefferson Parish High School Teacher of the Year and received the Lucien Gunter Excellence in Teaching Award. She received these awards due to her students’ performance on the LEAP test, her work with improving students’ ACT scores, and the extra-curricular activities she sponsored.

She is a graduate of Riverdale High School. She received her bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics from Loyola University (’02) and a Master’s in Education Leadership from the University of New Orleans (’11). She is also a National Board Certified Teacher of Mathematics and is certified to teach English as a Second Language.

“I was attracted to Young Audience because of their motto ‘Academic Excellence with an Artistic Edge.’ I am excited to incorporate the things I have learned during my years as an educator,” said Sallinger. “We will assist all creative learners to ensure they are college or career ready upon their graduation from Young Audiences. I look forward to seeing the success of our creative learners at Young Audiences and beyond.”

About Toriano Hayward, Jr.

Toriano Hayward is originally from Alexandria, LA and has been an educator in New Orleans for the last seven years where he has worked as a teacher, instructional coach, and grade level dean. Over his years in the classroom he has taught and developed curriculum for English I, English II, English III, English IV, World Literature, African American Literature, AP Literature, and Speech. In his first four years teaching, 98% of his students scored Mastery or above on the statewide end of year course exam and he has led ACT school-wide improvement initiatives in a variety of settings.

Torey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts from Hendrix College (’12) and his Masters of Science in Education from Johns Hopkins University. In his seven years of teaching he has been named Teacher of the Year twice at a school level (’16/’18), named Jefferson Parish High School Teacher of the Year (’17), recognized as a Sue Lehman Excellence in Teaching National Semi-Finalist (’14), and honored as the NFL Saints Teacher of the Week (’14). He participated in the Leading Educators Fellowship (’14) and has facilitated Values Based Leadership Development and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy fellowships for Teach for America for the last 4 years.

Torey also works as the Associate Artistic Director of the Radical Buffoons- a New Orleans based professional theater company. He has both performed, designed, and directed for several local theater companies including The NOLA Project and The Tennessee Williams Theater Company.

Torey is excited about the opportunity to merge his passion for educational equity with his interest in expanding access to high quality arts education at Young Audiences Charter High School. He has had the opportunity to have a multitude of experiences in a short amount of time and is excited about leading with a passion for creating well-rounded, deeply-thoughtful, and immensely prepared young people. His favorite memories in this work are centered around student driven leadership inside and outside of the classroom and he is excited to embed this in the foundation of YACS!

 Opened in 2013, Young Audiences Charter School at Kate Middleton is an open enrollment, arts-integrated charter school in Jefferson Parish for grades K-9, expanding to high school in 2019. Enrollment is open to any Jefferson Parish student. Recent research shows that students at schools with an arts-integrated curriculum scored higher on standardized tests and academic measures than those at other types of schools. Additionally, students involved in the arts have better attendance, fewer behavior referrals, increased class participation, and are more likely to report a love of learning.

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