Leadership Exchange
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Tarzan Davis  
Kermit Ruffins  
Zhoriél Tapo  
Alie Ward  

Let’s expand our minds together by starting our day with a dose of inspiration with local and Hollywood education celebrities who are making science wonderful, cultivating “big dream” ambitions and off the charts school spirit.

Presenters

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Tarzan Davis, Entertainer

Greg Tarzan Davis is a former elementary school teacher and a TV and film actor. You can see him on screen in “Top Gun: Maverick,” in “Mission: Impossible 7” in July 2023, and currently as Dr. Jordan Wright in the hit TV series “Grey’s Anatomy.” He’s also at work on a major studio feature to be released in 2024. A New Orleans native, Davis was exposed to theater at a young age when his grandmother took him to local plays. He credits one of his high school teachers for encouraging his love for acting, which led to his debut as the lead in the play “By The Way Meet Vera Stark” in college. As he pursued a full-time acting career, Davis followed another of his passions – working with children. He became an elementary school teacher, but his desire to pursue acting became so great that he let his beloved students know he was headed to Los Angeles to become an actor. He made his film debut in 2020 in “The Call of the Wild,” starring Harrison Ford. Other credits include a recurring role on “Good Trouble,” and guest roles on "Chicago P.D.” and “All Rise.”

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Kermit Ruffins, Ruffins Agency

Kermit Ruffins is a jazz trumpeter, singer and composer, and an actor, from New Orleans who’s success bolstered the rejuvenation of the NOLA second-line culture that now flourishes. Dedicated to preserving and passing on the tradition of jazz, he is often compared to his hero, Louis Armstrong. Whether he’s slinging barbecue, adding to his collection of fedoras, or playing at one of his regular weekly shows, Ruffins does it with joy and passion, an example of what it means to be a true New Orleanian.

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Zhoriél Tapo, LJ Alleman Middle School

Zhoriél Tapo is a 13-year-old, seventh grade student at LJ Alleman Middle School in Lafayette, Louisiana. She’s also a Scholastic Kids Press Kid Reporter, an award-winning speaker and an actress. She was recently elected by her peers as the 2022-2023 Louisiana State Jr. Beta president.

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Alie Ward, Ologies

Alie Ward is a Daytime Emmy Award-winning science correspondent for CBS’ “The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation with Mo Rocca,” and host of “Did I Mention Invention?” on the CW. She also appears on Netflix’s science series, “Brainchild,” and Science Channel’s “How to Build Everything.” Ward studied science and film in college, was a staff writer/editor for the Los Angeles Times and an on-air contributor to KTLA.

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