About Us
Leadership : Leadership Team

Lale Geer

Interim Superintendent

Along with serving as Interim Superintendent, Lale Geer oversees all operations management and planning within the Jefferson Parish Public School System, including the district’s emergency management, facilities and maintenance, food services, technology, and transportation departments. Geer began his career with JPPSS in 1990, and has served as an elementary and middle school teacher, middle school dean, elementary principal, high school principal, director of transportation, and most recently, assistant superintendent of operations. He has a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of New Orleans.


Germain Gilson

Chief of Staff

Germaine Gilson has served the students of the Jefferson Parish Public School System for over 22 years.  Prior to her current role as chief of staff, Gilson has been chief student support officer, assistant superintendent of federal programs, as well as an instructional associate, principal, assistant principal, and teacher. A two time JPPSS Teacher of the Year, Gilson has nurtured teachers who have now moved into leadership roles in JPPSS and surrounding parishes. As district liaison to the Posse Foundation, she helped JPPSS students earn more than $6 million in scholarship funds. She also served on the JPPSS District Design Team and co-authored the district’s School Improvement Plan to turnaround low performing schools. Gilson earned her Master of Arts in Administration and Supervision from Xavier University of Louisiana and her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education from Southern University of New Orleans.


Debra Cooper

Chief Academic Officer

Debra D. Cooper has been an educator for over 30 years. Cooper worked her way up the ranks as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. She has impacted the lives students in the Jefferson Parish Public School System for 22 years as a teacher and as an administrator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Before becoming Chief Academic Officer in 2015, Cooper had served as the principal of Ruppel Academy for Advanced Studies since 2009. Under her leadership, students experienced a rigorous and challenging curriculum designed to enable them to be successful in a global society. Cooper holds her Bachelor of Science in Education from Our Lady of Holy Cross College and her Master of Science in Educational Administration and Supervision from the University of New Orleans.


Carolyn Van Norman

Chief Achievement and Accountability Officer

Carolyn Van Norman is an academic leader who is committed to public school education. Her long career in the Jefferson Parish Public School System (JPPSS) has been solidified through her involvement in both education and community circles. Since 1974 she has served in JPPSS schools as teacher and principal; and in central office as instructional leader, assistant superintendent, and most recently as Executive Director of Instructional and Support Personnel. She is known as an academic leader with considerable experience in most aspects of education with a strong knowledge of schools at each organizational level. Additionally, Van Norman has extensive knowledge of Louisiana’s Accountability Program.


Denise Carpenter

Chief Student Support Officer

Denise Carpenter has served public education in Jefferson Parish for over 32 years. She has served as both a general and special education teacher; an assistant principal of special education, middle school, and high school curriculum and guidance; a high school principal; and currently serves as the Chief Student Support Officer in the Jefferson Parish Public School System. Ms. Carpenter holds a B.A. in Social Studies Education, a M.Ed. in Educational Administration, and a Juris Doctorate. Her success during her seven year tenure as principal, along with specific coursework, secured her certification as a Turnaround Specialist. Her school was the only open enrollment high school that earned an “A” report card for 14-15.


Sarah Caruso

Chief Financial Officer

Sarah Caruso is responsible for the overall fiscal management of the Jefferson Parish Public School System. As the Chief Financial Officer, she oversees the management of the district’s multi-million dollar budget and directs and coordinates the budget & accounting, management information system, and payroll departments. Prior to joining JPPSS in 2015, Caruso was a financial leader in the private sector for seven years. As a supervising senior auditor for Carr, Riggs & Ingram, CPAs, Caruso worked with local parish governments, school boards, and charter schools. Caruso received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and her Masters of Professional Accountancy from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Donna Joseph

Chief Human Resources Officer

Donna W. Joseph is a lifelong resident of Jefferson Parish, a product of the Jefferson Parish Public School System, and proud graduate of John Ehret High School.  Joseph has been a servant of public education for 23 years. Her career started in the entertainment and television industry, which led her to becoming a local business owner. In the early 90’s she decided to follow her dream of becoming a teacher. During her tenure as an educator, Ms. Joseph has served in various capacities: teacher, department chairperson, Title I team leader, bully prevention program director, testing coordinator, assistant principal, recruiter, HR administrator, HR director, and management trustee on the Jefferson Federation of Teachers Health and Welfare Fund Board. Joseph holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in economics and a master’s degree in educational leadership.