Thomas Jefferson Academy for Advanced Studies
In October 2004, by a vote of 5 to 4, the Jefferson Parish School Board approved the opening of Thomas Jefferson High School, a school for academically advanced students. The school was named in honor of the 3rd President of the United States, the political leader responsible for the Louisiana Purchase and the namesake of Jefferson Parish. It was school board member Mark Morgan’s vision to establish a school that offered innovative teaching techniques and challenging courses to prepare students for a rewarding college education.
The school opened its doors for students in grades 6 through 9 on August 14, 2006 at 815 Huey P. Long Avenue in Gretna. Less than 200 students from all areas of the West Bank of Jefferson Parish were in attendance. Dr. Gerard LeBlanc served as principal for the first two years. Clubs and athletics were rooted and the school evolved into a high school.
In August 2008, Mrs. Debra Cooper led the faculty, staff, and students in grades 8-11. School demand grew so much that the student population expanded beyond expectations. The steady growth in enrollment prompted the Jefferson Parish School Board to purchase the former Archbishop Blenk High School as the new site of Thomas Jefferson High School.
Students and staff moved to 17 Gretna Boulevard under the leadership of Dr. Christine D. Templet and Mrs. Sharon Meggs-Hamilton. Advanced placement courses were added to the curriculum, student athletes competed in varsity events, and senior traditions began. Dr. Gerard LeBlanc returned as Principal in 2010 and Mrs. Michelle Burmaster joined the administration as Assistant Principal.
Mr. Andrew Vincent became the fifth principal of Thomas Jefferson High School in 2015. In 2017, Thomas Jefferson High School was recognized as a National Title 1 Distinguished School for exceptional student performance. Only two schools in the state are selected each year for this prestigious distinction.
In September 2019, US Education Secretary Betsy Devos announced that Thomas Jefferson had been awarded the prestigious 2019 National Blue Ribbon School award. Thomas Jefferson was among 349 schools awarded nationwide. It is an honor bestowed by the U.S. Department of Education based upon overall academic success or narrowing achievement gaps among disadvantaged students.
Thomas Jefferson opened our doors as Thomas Jefferson Academy for Advanced Studies in August 2020 as we added 6th, 7th, and 8th to our enrollment. Our faculty and students navigated virtual learning while balancing hybrid schedules. In June 2021, Mrs. Shawn Rome became the Acting Principal of Thomas Jefferson Academy for Advanced Studies. In July 2022, Mrs. Debbie Dantin became the Principal of Thomas Jefferson Academy for Advanced Studies. In 2023 we were awarded the number 7 position in Louisiana by US Best High Schools & World Report.