Sherdren Burnside

Sherdren Burnside

New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2019, Economic Opportunities Program

Executive Director, Compassion Outreach of America, New Orleans, Louisiana

Sherdren Burnside is a proud mother, pastor, educator, and anti-racism trainer and organizer with more than 25 years of experience in public education, non-profit leadership, and urban ministry. Since 2008, she has been heavily involved in violence reduction, education and training, blight reduction, and other community development initiatives in the St. Claude neighborhood of New Orleans. Currently, she serves as executive director of Compassion Outreach of America, a faith-based nonprofit that works to build a safe, thriving community for children and families in St. Claude and the surrounding neighborhoods of New Orleans through education, community development, healthy faith community. She served as the founding director of College Track New Orleans (CTNO), formerly Urban League College Track (ULCT), a college completion program designed to help students from underrepresented communities to graduate from college. Under her leadership, CTNO grew from an inaugural class of 37 high school students to over 300 high school and college students, and increased TOPS Opportunity Scholarship Award eligibility from 18 percent to 85 percent in four years. She also served on the design and implementation team of the Castlemont Business and Information Technology School (CBITS) in Oakland, CA, a three-year high school turnaround initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. At CBITS, she pioneered initiatives in technology integration, college readiness, and project-based learning. She is a graduate of Loyola University, New Orleans and Teachers College, and Columbia University. She is currently pursuing ordination with the Louisiana District of the Assemblies of God through the Louisiana School of Ministry. She is a gifted teacher with a proven record of inspiring student success. Her belief that all people deserve the opportunity to fulfill their own best promise drives her unwavering commitment to equity, service, and biblical justice.

Sherdren Burnside is a member of the New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2019, one of several Workforce Leadership Academies in localities across North America.

The Workforce Leadership Academies are part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at

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