Board of Directors


Leadership Preparatory Charter School Board Meeting Schedule ( 2016- 2017)

The Leadership Prep Board of Directors meets the third Wednesday of each month.

Location:  4190 Elliston Road, Memphis, TN 38111.

Time: 6:15pm to 7:45pm

Dates: July, 20 2016;  August 17, 2016; September 21, 2016; October 19, 2016; November 16, 2016; December 14, 2016 (Note: 2nd Wednesday); January 18, 2017; February 15, 2017; March 22, 2017 ( Note: 2nd Wednesday ); April 19, 2017; May 17, 2017; June – No Board meeting; July 19, 2017

Please see Board of Directors Meetings Page for Board adopted 2016- 2017 Student and Family Handbook

Contact the Board: leadershipprep2015@gmail.com

Don Drinkard, Chair of Facility Committee                 Email Contact: Don.Drinkard@cbrememphis.com

Don Drinkard is a Senior Associate with CB Richard Ellis Memphis, the largest third party commercial real estate service provider in the world, where he exclusively represents landlords and owners of office properties. He represents his clients on lease, lease renewal, and sales transactions. His responsibilities include marketing, economic analysis, market analysis, and lease negotiation for his clients. Don holds a BA from Furman University in Greenville, SC. He is licensed to practice real estate in Tennessee and Mississippi. Don has served his community by being involved with the following organizations: Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis (Board Member), the Urban Land Institute (Board Member), Memphis Area Association of Realtors (Commercial Council), and the Memphis University School Alumni Association (Class Representative). Don’s background in commercial real estate as well as his community involvement will be a key asset in helping Leadership Prep find, select and secure a facility for Leadership Prep as well as help make connections for the school in the community.

J.Van Menard, Board Chair                                                Email Contact : vanmenard@gmail.com

J. 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.

Ayoka Pond, Board Secretary                                              Email Contact: ayokapond@comcast.net

Ayoka Pond as the director of public relations and internal communications for Baptist Memorial Health Care, Ayoka supervises and supports a team of public relations professionals who provide media relations, issues management, coaching and counsel to Baptist’s 14 hospitals and dozens of entities and services. Ayoka also supervises employee communication, including the organization’s newsletter and intranet site. Ayoka began her career at Baptist as an intern and was hired as a public relations specialist in 1999. During her tenure, Ayoka has won a number of awards, including a national Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil award. She was named a Memphis Advertising Federation Ad Woman of the Year and one of the Memphis Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. Ayoka is a 2008 graduate of the Leadership Academy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at the University of Missouri and earned her master’s degree in public relations at the University of Memphis.

Justin Rikard, Board Member                                      Email Contact: justinrikard1@hotmail.com

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 Treasurer                                    Email Contact: mattsaenger@gmail.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.

Paul Stanley, Board Member                                          Email Contact: pandrewstanley07@yahoo.com

Paul Stanley is a successful marketing professional with broad experience of aligning strategic planning with operational execution. With 14 years in the product management field with firms in the telecom and transportation industries, Paul has established a track record of inspiring and motivating teams towards the realization of a shared vision from concept to launch. In his current role at FedEx Services, Paul is responsible for the formulation and execution of the FedEx Global e-commerce strategy. A recent graduate of the New Memphis Fellows Program, he holds a BS in Accounting and Business Administration from Washington & Lee University and an MBA from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. Paul recently concluded his term as President of the Mid-South Chapter of the Washington & Lee Alumni Association. A long-time youth lacrosse coach, Paul brings his passion for coaching and mentoring children along with his servant leadership style and strategic thought leadership to the Leadership Preparatory Charter School Board.

Andrew K. Roney, Board Member                                 Email Contact: Droney83@gmail.com

Todd Taylor, Board Vice-Chair                                       Email  Contact: todd.taylor@fedex.com

Chris Lazarini, Board Member                                       Email  Contact: clazarini@bassberry.com

Thomeka Jordan, Board Member                                 Email  Contact : thomekad@yahoo.com

Colby Mitchell, Board Member                                      Email Contact: cmitchell@selftucker.com

Valissia Allen, Ex-Officio

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.


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