The Leadership Prep Board of Directors meets the third Wednesday of each month.
Location: 4190 Elliston Road, Memphis, TN 38111.
Time: 6:15pm to 8:00pm
Please see Board of Directors Meetings Page for Student and Family Handbook and Board Meeting Schedule
Contact the Board: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Our Board GIVES! Board members commit to donating $1500.00 each year.
- Our Board is STRONG! Board member average service tenure is 2 ½ years.
- Our Board is ACTIVE! Board members regularly attend school based events.
- Our Board is LOCAL and DIVERSE! 100% of our Board members live in Memphis or surrounding communities.
J.Van Menard, Board Chair Email Contact: email@example.com
Van Menard returned to Memphis in 2005 as a principal at Insight Risk Management where he helps commercial clients with their insurance needs. Using his unique finance and accounting background, he serves hundreds of clients across the country to develop solutions to help manage their risk. Mr. Menard worked for Swiss Re in New York, London and Zurich as well as Lehman Brothers in their capital markets division prior to his moving back to Memphis. Van received his MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke and his undergraduate degree in economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University School of Pennsylvania. Mr. Menard tries to repay the Memphis community for all that it has provided him and his family through his involvement in various community programs including the East Memphis Rotary Club, Junior Achievement and Mentoring Based Truancy Reduction Program..
Justin Rikard, Board Treasurer Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Rikard is a CPA and member of the operational due diligence team at Gerber/Taylor, a Memphis based Registered Investment Advisor that primarily manages fund of hedge fund partnerships with over $5 billion in assets under management. In his role, he is responsible for manager due diligence and monitoring. Prior to Gerber/Taylor, Justin spent over 8 years in KPMG LLP’s audit and advisory practice where he served as a Senior Manager with a focus on assurance for consumer and industrial markets. Justin’s background as a CPA and former auditor will assist Leadership Preparatory’s financial management, internal control, and reporting processes. Justin received a B.A. cum laude in Business Administration and M.S. in Accounting from Rhodes College. Justin is a graduate of New Memphis Institute’s Fellows Program and is passionate about ensuring that all children have an opportunity for a quality education.
Matt Saenger, Board Member Email Contact: email@example.com
Matt Saenger specializes in managing assets for high net worth investors and family foundations for Green Square Capital, LLC, a Memphis based Registered Investment Advisor that manages assets in excess of $1.6 billion for approximately 100 families spread across the U.S. In his role as a Managing Director at Green Square, Matt implements and maintains investment strategies and financial budgets for his clients. Matt is a volunteer for the Miles Perret Cancer Center in Lafayette, LA, which is a nonprofit organization in southern Louisiana that assists cancer patients and their families. Matt will play an important role in the development and ongoing oversight of Leadership Preparatory’s financial budget. Matt serves on the Alumni Executive Board at Memphis University School and is also a graduate of the Leadership Academy of Memphis’ Fellows Program. Matt graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Managerial Finance.
Christopher G. Lazarini , Board Member Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
A life-long Memphian, Mr. Lazarini focuses his litigation practice on the representation of national, regional, and local broker-dealers, financial institutions, and investment advisers and their registered representatives and agents. He has appeared before arbitration panels and courts throughout the country, has lectured at national and local conferences, and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. He also serves on the Financial Services Institute (FSI)’s FINRA Arbitration Task Force and is a Senior Contributing Editor of the Securities Litigation Commentator/Alert (SLC Online) where he submits weekly content on industry-related litigation matters. Having raised two dyslexic children, Mr. Lazarini knows first-hand the value of providing grade school and middle school students a structured and supportive learning environment.
Colby Mitchell, Board Member Email Contact: email@example.com
Colby Mitchell is a Project Coordinator with Self + Tucker Architects, the largest minority-owned architecture firm in Memphis. His experience ranges from BIM management to facility assessment and construction management. Colby holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Architecture degree, both from the University of Memphis. He is also a graduate of New Memphis Institute’s Embark Program. Providing service and advocacy to his community as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Colby is the local chapter’s Social Justice and Public Policy chairman, where he primarily organizes community forums and panel discussions. Colby’s background in architecture led him to become directly involved with Leadership Prep as the project coordinator for the school’s current facility renovation design. Notably, Jackson, his son, is one of the school’s top scholars! In that regard, Colby serves as a member of the school’s academic committee.
Ruby Powell-Dennis, Board Member Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
As Director of Outreach at New Memphis, Ruby’s work there is twofold – attracting and filling New Memphis’ core programs, as well as ongoing engagement of program graduates. Prior to joining New Memphis, Ruby served as the Managing Director, Regional Recruitment and Student Leadership at Teach For America – Memphis. Additionally, Ruby served as the Managing Director of School Operations at the Memphis Regional Summer Institute.
Ruby has also served in other roles during her tenure in education with The Achievement School District, The New Teacher Project, and Teach For America – Colorado. She serves the Memphis community through the Junior League of Memphis, Board Leaders of Color Collaborative (BLOCC) with the Tennessee Charter School Center, as a board member at Leadership Preparatory Charter School and through a local investment club for Black women.
Ruby is a proud graduate of The University of Florida where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in advertising with a focus on political science and secondary education. She also completed her Masters of Arts in Organizational Communication at Southeastern Louisiana University and her Master’s in Business Administration at The University of Memphis.
Nancy Russell, Board Member Email Contact: email@example.com
Ms. Russell is the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer for Landau Uniforms Incorporated, a leader in the medical, culinary, and corporate identity apparel business. Prior to joining Landau Nancy served as the Vice President of Finance for Bryce Corporation. Ms. Russell started her career with Ernst & Young providing audit and tax services to privately owned and emerging businesses. Ms. Russell holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Purdue University and is a Certified Public Accountant. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants. Nancy is actively involved with the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, serves as a volunteer tutor for Literacy Mid-south and is on the board of Iris Orchestra and Leadership Preparatory Charter School.
Andrew K. Roney, Board Member Email Contact: Droney83@gmail.com
Toria Brown, Board Member Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Taylor, Board Vice-Chair Email Contact: email@example.com
Todd Taylor is a lawyer licensed to practice in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas and serves as Lead Counsel for FedEx Corporation in Memphis, TN. Todd graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1997 where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Tennessee Law Review. Prior to law school, Toddgraduated cum laude from Georgia State University in 1994 with a B.A. in Political Science. Todd is a member at Idlewild Presbyterian Church where he has served in the following capacities – New Member Committee (1998-2002), Convener – Pathfinder’s Adult Sunday School Class (2000-03), Deacon (2000-03), Teacher – First Grade Sunday School (2004-05), Elder (2005-07), Personnel Committee (1999-present; Chair 2006-07), Idlewild Children’s Center Board of Directors (2014-17). Todd has also held leadership positions in the Boy Scouts of America where he served as Cub Master, Pack 278, Woodland Presbyterian Church (2007-10), and Troop Committee Chair, Troop 278, Woodland (2010-11). Allison foolishly agreed to marry Todd in 1991, and they have two children, Katie (23) and Will (19).
Garner Williams, Board Member Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Valissia Allen, Ex-Officio Email Contact: email@example.com
Valissia Allen is the Founder and Head of School at Leadership Preparatory Charter School. Ms. Allen is committed to providing a high quality K-8 public charter school that provides its graduates with the academic and character foundation necessary to achieve ambitious goals. Ms. Allen began her career in education, teaching middle school English and coordinating a youth program for a community theatre before earning her law degree. While working for Michigan Legal Services, a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating systemic causes of poverty through impact-oriented legal services, she co-coordinated a Property Tax Foreclosure Prevention Project which saved the homes of families unable to pay their property taxes at the start of the national financial crisis. Through this work as well as her experience providing legal services for the Public Defender’s Office in Charlotte, North Carolina, Ms. Allen is convinced that creating real change comes from working to eliminate the pervasive educational inequalities that persist in historically underserved communities. Selected as a 2013 Building Excellent Schools Fellow, Ms. Allen conducted school study and analysis of high poverty, high achieving charter schools and completed training to design, found, and lead Leadership Prep.
Ms. Allen holds the deep belief that she can and must create a public school of extraordinary quality that provides its graduates with a clear pathway out of poverty. Ms. Allen has often shared, “I am a graduate of a struggling urban district where less than 50% of students graduate. My success – someone cared.” Ms. Allen earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School.