Valissia Allen, Founder and Head of School –

Valissia Allen is the Founder and Head of School at Leadership Prep. 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 organization dedicated to eliminating systemic causes of poverty through impact-oriented legal services, she co-coordinated a Property Tax Foreclosure 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. She regularly shares her passion for starting Leadership Prep, “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.

Jeffrey Veale, Jr., Director of Operations –

Jeffrey Veale, Jr. is the Founding Director of Operations at Leadership Preparatory Charter School. Originally from eastern North Carolina, Mr. Veale now calls Memphis home. A part of his affinity to Memphis comes from his educational research in college. Mr. Veale earned a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master of Education from Christian Brothers University. Mr. Veale taught third grade mathematics at Ford Road Elementary School since its inception in Shelby County Schools’ Innovation Zone. When Mr. Veale entered Ford Road, the school was listed as a Priority School (performing in the bottom 5% of schools in the state). After two years, Ford Road was no longer a Priority School. For the 2013-2014 school year, Ford Road had the highest school-wide growth composite summary of Tennessee elementary schools. Mr. Veale remained a Level 5 teacher (TEM and TVASS) while at Ford Road. A graduate of New Memphis Institute’s Embark program, Mr. Veale also has experience managing school operations through Teach For America’s Memphis Regional Institute. Mr. Veale’s many experiences, including having taught orphans in Uganda, Africa, greatly benefit the scholars of Leadership Prep. Mr. Veale is excited to use all of his experiences and development to ensure the scholars of Leadership Prep get an excellent education amongst world-class, people-focused operations.