Leslie Blanchard, PhD, Executive Director
From 1996 to 2008, Blanchard worked exclusively in the K-12 world. As a classroom English and Secondary Science teacher, she was both a school and district level teacher of the year, as well as the Louisiana recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching given by President George W. Bush in 2003. For ten of those years, Dr. Blanchard served as a professional development specialist in the areas of New Teacher Induction, STEM, and Technology Integration in Curriculum. She is also a talented grant writer who has procured more than $13 million in state and federal funding for her districts.Dr. Leslie Blanchard has worked in the field of education for over 25 years. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Leadership Development Institute at Louisiana State University.
Dr. Blanchard moved to LSU in 2009 where she served as the Operations Manager for the Masters of Natural Sciences degree in the Cain Center for STEM Literacy. She directed the processes for the Louisiana Math and Science Teachers’ Institute (LaMSTI), a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the Central Louisiana Academic Residency Program for Teachers (CART), a $16 million grant from the United States Department of Education until their expiration. Both programs supported middle and high school STEM teachers to pursue advanced degrees including leadership development components taught by Dr. Blanchard.
In 2013, Dr. Blanchard assumed the role of Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture where she served for five years. She supervised the recruitment/retention, student services, employee engagement/internships, and study abroad units for 1,400 students. During her tenure, she created the Governors’ School for Agricultural Sciences and Project EXPLORE (grant funded through USDA) which provided leadership and workforce development opportunities for high school and undergraduate students.
Dr. Blanchard accepted the position as Executive Director of the LDI in August of
2018. She has directed her efforts toward improved outcomes in K-12 schools and districts
through customized, strategic, and deliberate leadership development. Dr. Blanchard’s
research focus is in the areas of leadership development and evaluation, particularly
in K-20 education. Her dissertation researched the method of using self-assessment
of efficacy and student feedback as a component of K-12 teacher evaluation, and she
continues her research as it relates to leadership development and evaluation across
all workforce areas in the human services sector. Dr. Blanchard has developed and
taught leadership courses at the undergraduate and graduate level for the past ten
years, and has consulted and coached with individuals, teams, and large groups to
facilitate organizational effectiveness and improved culture and climate. Her passion
is to “develop the people that develop people,” and she hopes that her efforts to
cultivate great leaders in the human services field will have a positive lasting impact
on the communities that LSU serves.
Deana Losavio Meredith, MS, Program Manager
Deana Meredith has a background in project management, leadership and human resource development, client relationship management and business development.
Deana is an alumna of LSU with an undergraduate degree in Communication Studies. She also received her masters degree in Leadership and Human Resource Development at LSU.
She currently serves as the Program Manager for the Leadership Development Institute where she manages large-scale programming and administrative oversight that includes everything from collaborating with the LDI team on program and content creation to implementation of systems and processes that ensure clients have the best possible experience and that LDI projects and programs are carried out and completed with fidelity. In addition to her role as Program Manager, Deana is a certified LDI leadership coach and works with clients in various sectors with a focus on student and youth development.
Deana was born and raised in Baton Rouge and has a passion to serve the community where she grew up, the state she calls home and beyond. She is proud to be a part of an organization that allows her to hit that mark while developing her personal and professional goals at the same time. Deana is humbled to be one of the first followers of the transformative work happening at LDI.
Lee Napier, Administrative Assistant
Lee has been an administrative assistant and related positions at
four universities over the past 20-plus years, as he has followed his wife through graduate school and her career. Most recently he was Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the College of Education at Mississippi State University.
In his current position, Lee assists the Director of the Leadership Development Institute with travel, purchasing, scheduling, and other related functions. Lee's extensive background and experience in administration makes him a jack of all trades as he keeps the LDI team on track by managing resources, schedules and tasks.
Lee married his wife in the highlands of Scotland and is father to two kids, two dogs, and a rabbit.