Dr. Gene Alvin Geisert, the longest-tenured superintendent of Orleans Parish Schools, passed away Thursday at the age of 92. Born July 22, 1927, in Toledo, Ohio, Dr. Geisert served in the U.S. Navy during the Second World War, graduated from the University of Toledo (from which he also received his Master’s Degree), received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and became an educator. He taught biology, served as an elementary and junior high school principal, and then served as superintendent of public schools in Alpena, Michigan. He then moved to Wilmington, Delaware and helped desegregate and improve the schools there until moving to New Orleans where he desegregated the schools and improved the system by recruiting teachers nationwide, from Canada, and overseas. He was the longest tenured superintendent, serving eight years, and taking a lead role in the creation of more magnet schools and the renowned NOCCA in 1973, which created a regional high school that specializes in pre-professional arts training. He then served as chair of the Doctoral Division in the Department of Education for St. John’s University in Queens, New York where he remained for the next thirty years. He then returned to New Orleans in 2011 where he remained for the rest of his life, serving as a volunteer at the National World War II Museum.
Preceded in death by his parents George and Mae (Laconte), his first wife Glenna (Withrow), and his second wife Sandra (Norfleet). In addition to his wife Karen, he is survived by his brother Paul Geisert, his daughters Jean Geisert and Ann Geisert Becnel, his grandson Gene Santopadre (Angela), and great granddaughters Emelia and Vivian, and a host of nieces and nephews and family and friends.
All family, friends, and colleagues are invited to honor Dr. Geisert on Tuesday, January 28 at Jacob Schoen & Son Funeral Home, 3827 Canal Street. Visitation will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a Memorial Service at 12:30 p.m. officiated by Rev. James Carter, S.J. and Rev. Dr. Allan Eickelmann. Interment will take place at Metairie Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the National World War II Museum 925 Magazine St. New Orleans LA 70130. JACOB SCHOEN & SON FUNERAL HOME, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119