Deirdre joined OPEN in January 2010. A native New Orleanian and product of the city’s public schools, Deirdre Johnson Burel recognizes the importance of investing in public education. Citing her career development as the classic model of return on investment for her family, church, and local community, Johnson Burel views OPEN as a personal and moral imperative to institutionalize that which was given her in and by the New Orleans community. Johnson Burel attended Eleanor McMain Magnet Secondary School and went on to attend U.C. Berkeley for undergraduate study and New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service where she earned a Master of Public Administration in public policy and non-profit management. With more than fifteen years experience working to build viable educational solutions, Johnson Burel understands the importance of informed constituents and the critical role of empowered, engaged communities cultivating the environment for excellence in public education. She brings a career deeply rooted in social justice via educational programming (founding staff member for New Orleans’ first Americorps program, former Director of Franklin Summerbridge, Director of Programs at Urban League of Greater New Orleans) and education policy (Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget Policy Analyst, and Policy Director for the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education) to OPEN.