Board of Directors

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Darren Patin

Board Chair

Darren Patin is an attorney with Hailey, McNamara, Hall, Larmann & Papale, L.L.P., and serves as Board Chair for Élan Academy.  A native New Orleanian, he brings his strong legal leadership and deep community networks to support the success of Élan Academy.

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Todd Taylor


Mr. Taylor is a resident of Orleans Parish and a parent of an OPSB student.  He has over ten years of leadership in the real estate industry. Mr. Taylor brings his knowledge in finance and facilities, and his deep commitment to education in our city, to support the success of Élan Academy.


Anane Olatunji


A native New Orleanian with more than 30 years of experience as both educator and researcher, Dr. Olatunji is founder and president of Align Education, LLC. He has published research in the Harvard Educational Review, taught students from kindergarten to college, and trained educators across the U.S. and in Latin America. Dr. Olatunji is an alumnus of Tulane, Teachers College, and Harvard University.

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Daphine Barnes


aphine Barnes is a Site Mentor with the Norman C. Francis Teacher Residency at Xavier University of Louisiana. In this capacity, she strives to enhance the teacher pipeline through training, coaching, and mentoring teachers for placement in our local charter schools. A native New Orleanian, Daphine is a proud graduate of St. Mary’s Academy and is a devoted member of St. Raymond –St. Leo Catholic Church.She is a devoted educator and is proud to bring her experience as a highly successful classroom educator, school leader, and district leader to serve as a member of the Academic Committee on Elan’s Board.

Steven Brown


Steven Brown is a veteran educator who brings rich experience from his thirty-five year, K-12 career. Steve is a teacher at heart; however, for the last two decades, his focus has been on school wide student achievement.   During the last few years, he has worked in New Orleans as a consultant and a charter schools administrator. Now “semi-retired”, Steve continues to be passionate about both teacher and student learning.


Daniel Willeman


Mr. Willeman is a resident of Orleans Parish and has over 15 years of leadership in engineering, business management, and operations. With an MBA from Wright State University and a BS in Business Administration from Penn State University, Mr. Willeman brings strong leadership in finance and business management to support the success of Élan Academy. 

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Jonathan Stewart

Parent Representative | Director

Jonathan B. Stewart is the President and Chief Executive, of Jonathan B. Stewart Insurance Agency, Jonathan is responsible for producing sales in different insurance lines such as auto, homeowners, flood, life, and health insurance.  Jonathan is married to Candace and they have two sons that attend Élan. 


David Hoover


Professor Hoover has taught in the Department of Film and Theatre at the University of New Orleans for 28 years. He comes from a family of educators, who taught him that education was paramount to a successful career and life. Professor Hoover hopes to bring his 30 years of teaching, 10 years of chairmanship of the Department of Film and Theatre, and his creative background to help Élan Academy continue to realize it’s mission.

Roger Watkins


Roger Watkins is a Sr. Business Banker with Capital One, where he works with local businesses and nonprofit organizations to help them reach their financial goals. He brings knowledge in finance and operations, as well as a strong commitment to supporting the success of Élan Academy.

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Ashley Shabankareh


Ashley Shabankareh has over 10 years of experience in music education, coupled with a background in the Music Industry and non-profit sector. She received her M.M. from Loyola University, New Orleans, with a concentration on conducting and brass instruments.  In 2017, she was named a Top Millennial in Music by the Spears Group and I Heart Media.

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© 2016 by Élan Academy, Inc.

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Élan (āˈlan) – Enthusiasm and Liveliness